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National Endowment for the Humanities Offers Free Classic Books to Libraries Through the We The People Bookshelf Program

WASHINGTON (Sept. 18, 2006)–The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced the fourth annual We the People Bookshelf, a program that offers sets of classic books to 2,000 community and school libraries throughout the United States. Recipients of the NEH awards program will receive a collection of 15 classics which were selected to illustrate this year's theme, "The Pursuit of Happiness."

The We the People Bookshelf is part of NEH's We the People program designed to strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture. Again this year, NEH has partnered with the American Library Association (ALA) to distribute a set of books, posters, and educational CDs to 2,000 selected libraries that offer the best programs for young readers using the awarded materials.

"These classic books are rich in stories about individuals who embrace the 'unalienable' right of free people–the pursuit of happiness, a phrase written indelibly in the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. "Young readers will find in these books the spirit of hope that has contributed to the growth and strength of our great nation and its citizens for more than two hundred years."

The We the People Bookshelf on "The Pursuit of Happiness" features the following books for 2007:

  • Grades K-3: Aesop's Fables by Aesop; Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost; Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton (also in Spanish).
  • Grades 4-6: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt; The Great Migration by Jacob Lawrence; These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder; and Journal of Wong Ming-Chung (donated by Scholastic, Inc.) by Laurence Yep.
  • Grades 7-8: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle; Esperanza Rising (donated by Scholastic, Inc.) by Pam Munoz Ryan, (also in Spanish); and Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham.
  • Grades 9-12: Kindred by Octavia Butler; O Pioneers! by Willa Cather (also in Spanish); The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman; and Common Sense by Thomas Paine.

As a bonus, each library receiving a We the People Bookshelf set will receive a music CD, Happy Land: Musical Tributes to Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Libraries wishing to participate in the We the People Bookshelf program can find more information and application instructions online at www.neh.gov. Applications can be submitted from Sept. 19, 2006, through Jan. 31, 2007.

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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