Russell Freedman to deliver 2006 Arbuthnot Honor Lecture

Contacts: Larra Clark/Macey Morales

ALA Media Relations

For Immediate Release

January 17, 2005

Russell Freedman to deliver 2006 Arbuthnot Honor Lecture

BOSTON – Russell Freedman, renowned author of outstanding nonfiction for children and young adults, will deliver the 2006 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. Each year, an individual of distinction in the field of children’s literature is chosen to write and deliver a lecture that will make a significant contribution to the world of children’s literature. The award is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). The announcement was made January 17 during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston, January 14 to 19.

Certain that children underappreciate history due to uninspiring texts, Freedman set out to breathe life into what he believed was fascinating subject matter. Freedman’s career began as a news reporter and editor and moved into children’s books with the publication of his first book, “Teenagers Who Made History,” in 1961. Freedman has brought such diverse figures as Marian Anderson, Martha Graham, Confucius and Crazy Horse alive through extensive research, archival photographs and his ability to tell a good story.

Apart from biographies, Freedman has illuminated two of America’s greatest documents in “Give Me Liberty: The Story of the Declaration of Independence” and “In Defense of Liberty: The Story of America’s Bill of Rights.”

“Freedman redefined children’s nonfiction with his emphasis on original research, realistic history and thoughtful selection of photographs,” said Arbuthnot Committee Chair Jean Gaffney. “The lives and times of which he so honestly writes forever touch the reader’s heart and mind.”

Freedman was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1988 for “Lincoln: A Photobiography” and received Newbery Honors for “The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane” in 1992 and “Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery” in 1994. In 1998, Freedman received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for “a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.”

Freedman was born in 1929 in San Francisco and studied at the University of California at Berkeley. He currently lives in New York City, where he continues to write for children.

Members of the Arbuthnot Committee are: Chair Jean Gaffney, Dayton Metro Library, Ohio; Joan Kindig, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.; Katie O’Dell, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.; Martha V. Parravano, The Horn Book Magazine, Boston; and Edward T. Sullivan, Hardin Valley Elementary School, Knoxville, Tenn.

More information on the Arbuthnot Honor Lecture can be found online at Applications to host the 2006 lecture will be available from ALSC,