NEH, ALA Public Programs Office announce 2,000 new We the People Bookshelf grants on the

Contact: Lainie Castle, PPO
For Immediate Release
September 15, 2006


NEH, ALA Public Programs Office announce 2,000 new

We the People Bookshelf grants on the "Pursuit of Happiness"


CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office (PPO) is pleased to partner with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for the fourth We the People Bookshelf project. Part of the NEH's We the People initiative, the Bookshelf is a grant program created to encourage young people to read and understand great literature while exploring themes in American history.


This year's theme is the "Pursuit of Happiness." In spring 2007, NEH and ALA will select 2,000 libraries to receive the Bookshelf.   Those selected will be required to use the Bookshelf selections in programs for young readers in their communities. School (K-12) and public libraries are eligible to apply online September 19, 2006 through January 31, 2007. Successful applicants will receive the Bookshelf - a collection of 15 classic hardcover books for young readers, all related to the "Pursuit of Happiness" theme. In addition, libraries will receive four of these books in Spanish translation, a bonus CD with traditional music referenced in the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and supplementary materials for programming, including bookplates, bookmarks, and posters.


The 2006-2007 Bookshelf on the "Pursuit of Happiness" will feature the following books selected by the NEH, in consultation with members of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), divisions of ALA.  

  • Kindergarten through 3rd Grade: "Aesop's Fables" by Aesop; "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel" by Virginia Lee Burton; "Mike Mulligan y Su Máquina Maravillosa" by Virginia Lee Burton (translated by Yanitzia Canetti); "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost
  • 4th Grade through 6th Grade: "Tuck Everlasting" by Natalie Babbitt; "Tuck para siempre" by Natalie Babbitt (translated by Narcis Fradera); "The Great Migration" by Jacob Lawrence; "These Happy Golden Years" by Laura Ingalls Wilder; "Journal of Wong Ming-Chung"* by Laurence Yep
  • 7th Grade through 8th Grade: "Carry On, Mr. Bowditch" by Jean Lee Latham; "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle; "Esperanza Rising"* by Pam Muñoz Ryan; "Esperanza Renace" by Pam Muñoz Ryan (translated by Nuria Molinero)
  • 9th Grade through 12th Grade: "Kindred" by Octavia Butler; "O Pioneers!" by Willa Cather; "Pioneros" by Willa Cather (translated by Gema Moral Bartolomé); "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald; "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine; "Leaves of Grass" by Walt Whitman

*Title donated by Scholastic Inc.


The application and guidelines will be available online from September 19, 2006 to January 31, 2007 at  or . This year, once again, school districts and library systems are invited to apply for Bookshelves on behalf of the multiple schools or branches they comprise. Changes in the application system will make it faster and simpler this year. Individual branch or school libraries also are   encouraged to apply. To review a list of programming ideas while planning an application, visit .


The Bookshelf grants are part of the NEH's We the People initiative, which aims to encourage and strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture through libraries, schools, colleges, universities, and cultural institutions. NEH plans to issue a Bookshelf each year on themes related to American ideas and ideals. Since 2003, ALA and NEH have awarded We the People Bookshelves to 4,000 public and school libraries.


Established in 1992, the ALA Public Programs Office has a strong 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 fund created to help all types of libraries across the country bring communities together through cultural programming (   More than 8,000 libraries and at least 10 million individuals have participated in library programming initiatives supported by the Public Programs Office. For more information, visit .


Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities. NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, new technologies exhibitions and programs in libraries, museums and other community places. For more information, visit