NEH Awards Books for Young Readers on the “Pursuit of Happiness” to 2,000 Libraries

WASHINGTON, (May 24, 2007)

We the People Bookshelf awards will support public programs in communities

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded free copies of classic books to 2,000 public and school libraries throughout the United States. Each library will receive the 15 classic books on the theme of the “Pursuit of Happiness” from the We the PeopleBookshelf, along with four titles also offered in Spanish translation.

“Libraries serve as a nexus of knowledge and ideas for our citizens and students," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. “With this year’s We the People Bookshelf, a library's young readers will gain a fuller sense of what the Declaration of Independence means when it asserts that all human beings ‘are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’”

The new awards are part of the Endowment’s We the People program, which supports projects that strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture. The We the PeopleBookshelf program will distribute 2,000 sets of books to neighborhood and public school libraries, as well as private schools, charter schools, tribal schools, and home school consortia in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each library will receive a set of the 15 books, four additional books in Spanish translation, a musical CD, posters, bookmarks, and other promotional materials from NEH through the American Library Association (ALA), which is working in partnership with the Endowment. As part of the award, libraries are organizing programs or events to raise awareness of these classic books and engage young readers.

The We the People Bookshelf on the “Pursuit of Happiness” contains the following books:

  • Grades K-3: Aesop’s Fables by Aesop; Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost; Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (also in Spanish translation) by Virginia Lee Burton.
  • Grades 4-6: Tuck Everlasting (also in Spanish translation) by Natalie Babbitt; The Great Migration by Jacob Lawrence; These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder; and Journal of Wong Ming-Chung by Laurence Yep.
  • Grades 7-8: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle; Esperanza Rising (also in Spanish translation) by Pam Muñoz Ryan; and Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham.
  • Grades 9-12: Kindred by Octavia Butler; O Pioneers! (also in Spanish translation) by Willa Cather; 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. Scholastic, Inc., generously donated copies of the books Journal of Wong Ming-Chung and Esperanza Rising for this project.

A state-by-state list of the school and public libraries selected to receive the We the People Bookshelf on the “Pursuit of Happiness” is available in four Adobe PDF files, located in the box above.

Media Contacts:
Office of Communications: (202) 606-8446 |