NEH, ALA Announce 7th Annual We the People Bookshelf Grant Opportunity

WASHINGTON, (September 8, 2009)

Apply through Jan. 29, 2010, for a collection of 17 titles on the theme “A More Perfect Union”

The National Endowment for the Humanities, in cooperation with the American Library Association’s (ALA) Public Programs Office, is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the seventh We the People Bookshelf project. Part of the NEH’s We the People program, the Bookshelf 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,” a “One” as well as a “Many,” and will complement library programs observing the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. To stimulate programming, the 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. Additional bonus materials provided are 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.

Public and school (K-12) libraries are invited to apply online from Sept. 8, 2009, through Jan. 29, 2010, at In spring 2010, NEH and ALA will select 4,000 libraries to receive the 17 books for young readers, as well as bonus materials for readers of all ages, and the option to receive three titles in Spanish translation. Libraries selected will be required to use the Bookshelf selections in programs for young readers in their communities.

The Bookshelf grants are part of the NEH’s We the People program, which aims to encourage and strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture through libraries, schools, colleges, universities, and cultural institutions. Since 2003, NEH has awarded 13,000 We the People Bookshelves to public and school libraries.

The We the People Bookshelf on “A More Perfect Union” will feature the following books, selected by NEH in consultation with members of ALA and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of ALA:

  • 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 Burn (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.

About the American Library Association

Established in 1992, the ALA Public Programs Office has an exemplary track record of developing library programming initiatives, including the acclaimed reading and discussion series "Let's Talk About It," film discussion programs on humanities themes, traveling exhibitions, LIVE! @ your library®, and other programs. Recently, it has established the Cultural Communities Fund, an endowment created to help all types of libraries across the country bring communities together through cultural programming ( For more information about the ALA Public Programs Office, visit

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