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NEH Awards We the People Bookshelf to 4,000 Libraries

Books explore theme of “A More Perfect Union”

WASHINGTON (April 13, 2010)–The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced today that 4,000 public and school libraries will receive the We the People Bookshelf, a free collection of 17 classic hardcover books for young readers (K-12). The Bookshelf, now in its seventh year, encourages young people to read and understand great literature while exploring themes in American history.

This year’s theme, “A More Perfect Union,” invites reflection on the idea of the United States as a “union” as the 150th anniversary of the Civil War approaches. The “more perfect union” envisioned by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution was torn asunder by the war between the North and South, which began in 1861.

In addition to the books for young readers, the “A More Perfect Union” Bookshelf features a DVD edition of The Civil War, the award-winning documentary by Ken Burns, including the rights to show the series to public audiences; the companion book to The Civil War series; and Declaring Independence: The Origin and Influence of America’s Founding Document, edited by Christian Y. Dupont.

The Bookshelf is headed to public and school libraries in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Educational programs to accompany the Bookshelf will be conducted in libraries between May 1, 2010, and April 30, 2011.

A state-by-state listing (including the District of Columbia and U.S. territories) of the libraries selected to receive the Bookshelf is available in the box above.

The books included in the “A More Perfect Union” Bookshelf are:

  • Kindergarten to Grade 3: Tico and the Golden Wings by Leo Lionni; When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson by Pam Muñoz Ryan; A More Perfect Union: The Story of Our Constitution by Betsy and Giulio Maestro.
  • Grades 4 to 6: César: ¡Sí, Se Puede! / Yes, We Can! by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand; Darby by Jonathon Scott Fuqua; Eagle Song by Joseph Bruchac; The Great Little Madison by Jean Fritz.
  • Grades 7 to 8: Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson; Hitch by Jeanette Ingold; Lincoln Shot: A President’s Life Remembered by Barry Denenberg; Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Beals.
  • Grades 9 to 12: American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic by Joseph Ellis; Carver: A Life in Poems by Marilyn Nelson; Killer Angels by Michael Shaara; Lincoln in His Own Words by Milton Melzer; Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose; The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. DuBois.
  • Bonus: The Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns (includes rights to show the series to public audiences); The Civil War: An Illustrated History by Geoffrey Ward, Ric Burns, Ken Burns; Declaring Independence: The Origin and Influence of America’s Founding Document edited by Christian Y. Dupont.

The Bookshelf is awarded through NEH’s We the People program, which supports projects that strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture. The Bookshelf offers libraries and local communities additional educational resources that may not otherwise be available.

Each library receiving the Bookshelf will also receive supplementary programming materials, including bookplates, bookmarks, and posters.

The Bookshelf titles are selected by NEH in consultation with members of the American Library Association (ALA) and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the ALA. The NEH We the People Bookshelf and programming materials are distributed through a partnership with ALA. For information about the ALA, click here.

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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