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NEH Marks Independence Day as 500 Libraries Receive 15 Classic Books on "Freedom"

Second Round of We the People Bookshelf Awards Will Support Community Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 30, 2005)--Just days before the nation celebrates the 229th anniversary of its independence, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced that a second group of 500 school and local libraries throughout the country will receive free copies of 15 classic books from the We the People Bookshelf, with four also offered in Spanish. The theme of this year's bookshelf is "freedom." As part of the award, libraries will hold programs or events to raise awareness of these classic books and engage young readers. The first group of 500 libraries was announced earlier this year in March.

"Independence Day provides the perfect occasion to appreciate our nation's freedom," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. "The Endowment's We the People Bookshelf enables younger readers to examine this important concept from many perspectives. This year's bookshelf tells the stories of freedom sought, freedom denied, freedom lived." In 2004, the first year of the We the People Bookshelf, 1,000 libraries received books for young readers on the theme of "courage."

The new awards are part of the Endowment's We the People initiative, which supports projects that strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture. The awards will go to neighborhood and public school libraries--as well as libraries at private schools, charter schools, and home school cooperatives--throughout the United States, each of which will receive a set of the 15 books, posters, bookmarks, and other promotional materials from NEH through the American Library Association, which is working in partnership with NEH.

The We the People Bookshelf on "freedom" contains the following books:

  • Grades K-3: Sam the Minuteman by Nathaniel Benchley; The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble; Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter; and El Cuento de Pedrito Conega by Beatrix Potter;
  • Grades 4-6: The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton; Ben and Me by Robert Lawson; To Be a Slave by Julius Lester; The Complete Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis; and El León, La Bruja & Ropero by C.S. Lewis;
  • Grades 7-8: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury; Fahrenheit 451 (in Spanish) by Ray Bradbury; Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt; and The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare; and
  • Grades 9-12: Miracle at Philadelphia by Catherine Drinker Bowen; My Ántonia by Willa Cather; Mi Ántonia by Willa Cather; Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell; and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

    A complete list of the second 500 school and public libraries to receive the We the People Bookshelf on "freedom" is available in the above box.

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About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Media Contacts: Office of Communications at (202) 606-8446 or info@neh.gov