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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 30, 2005

UI Press Children's Book Honored By Midwest Booksellers

"A Tallgrass Prairie Alphabet," by Claudia McGehee and published by the University of Iowa Press, received an honorable mention citation as best children's book of 2005 by the Midwest Booksellers Association at its annual conference Sept. 23.

"A Tallgrass Prairie Alphabet" brings the glory of the prairie back to life in 26 scratchboard with watercolor illustrations. From the yellow stargrass that welcomes springtime to the butterfly weed that attracts summer's favorite winged visitors and the little bluestem that fights its way above the snow, each season on the prairie unfolds in the vibrant color and vivid details of the illustrations.

McGehee is a freelance illustrator who works in scratchboard cuts. Her interests in history, archaeology, animals and the environment often find their way into her illustrations. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she currently lives in Iowa City with her husband and daughter.

The MBA presented its best children's picture book award to "Kitten's First Full Moon," by Kevin Henkes. Other winners included "Gilead," by UI Writers' Workshop professor Marilynne Robinson, which won for best fiction, and "Homegrown Democrat: A Few Plain Thoughts From the Heart of America" by Garrison Keillor, which was named honorable mention in the nonfiction category.

The Midwest Booksellers Association (MBA) is a regional not-for-profit trade association promoting retail bookselling and supporting professional independent booksellers throughout the region. Members include more than 235 locally owned and operated independent bookstores; book publishers, distributors, reps, and vendors; and other individuals and businesses allied to the book industry.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,