The Women’s National Book Association has announced the winners of its 2020 Pannell Awards, which are presented annually to two bookstores that enhance their communities by fostering a love of reading. The award is cosponsored by Penguin Young Readers Group.
The winner in the General Bookstore category was BookPeople in Austin, Tex. The award jury lauded the store’s "astonishing contribution to Austin, their outreach, their nonstop energy."
Meghan Dietsche Goel, children’s book buyer and programming director, and PW blogger, responded by saying, “BookPeople is so honored to be acknowledged by the WNBA Pannell Award this year. Like every bookstore in the country, we are working hard to reimagine what it means to serve our community right now—to continue to build a love of reading in young readers and foster necessary conversations through books in challenging times. Being an indie bookseller has always meant embracing change, offering what our local communities need most, and always finding new ways to rise to the challenge.”
The winner in the Children’s Specialty Bookstore category is Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Ga. The Pannell jury described Little Shop of Stories as having "terrific outreach to the community" and "clever décor in store," and was praised for exemplary customer service.
Store manager Justin Colussy-Estes said, "We are thrilled that Little Shop of Stories has been awarded the 2020 WNBA Pannell Award. What a gift to be given right now. We have not had a customer in our store for two months. Our methods have had to change, but our mission has not: to foster empathy, creativity, and bravery in children through books. The children will return. The visits and the story times and the parties and the camps... they'll be back. Until then, we wish love, safety, and hope to all of our readers and fellow booksellers. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Our hearts are full today."
The winning stores will each receive a check for $1,000 and a signed work of original art from a children’s book illustrator.