NEH Announces We the People Bookshelf Awards to 500 Libraries

WASHINGTON, (March 17, 2005)


The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced that it has awarded free copies of 15 classic books from the We the People Bookshelf, with four also offered in Spanish, to 500 school and local libraries throughout the country. 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.

A list of the libraries receiving books is available as an 11-page PDF in the above box.

"Libraries serve as beacons of learning in schools and communities," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. "The We the People Bookshelf enables younger readers to examine important themes 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. Later this year, an additional 500 libraries will be selected to receive the books.

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.

To learn more about the We the People initiative, visit and

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