Applications available for new We the People Bookshelf Grant on “Becoming American”

Contact: Lainie Castle, ALA

For Immediate Release

September 8, 2005

Applications available for new We the People Bookshelf Grant on “Becoming American”

CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to partner with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for the third
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 “Becoming American.”

The grant initiative will award sets of 15 books for young readers that address the theme of “Becoming American” to 1,000 libraries across the country. School (K-12) and public libraries are eligible to apply. Libraries selected to receive the grants are required to use the
Bookshelf selections in programs for young readers in their communities. The application and guidelines are available at or Applications are being accepted online from September 6, 2005 through January 17, 2006.
Unlike past
We The People Bookshelves, there will be no second deadline for “Becoming American.”

“We are delighted that the NEH sees libraries as a vital part of its We the People initiative,” said ALA President Michael Gorman. “Providing 1,000 “Becoming American”
Bookshelves is a terrific way to support libraries, get children and families reading together about American history, and encourage use of one of the cornerstones of our democracy – American libraries.”

We the People Bookshelf reveals the many and varied influences that have shaped our nation's history and culture,” said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. “These classics also provide another powerful lesson: that there are traits and values shared by all those who, by birth or choice, become American.”

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. A nnounced by Lynne Cheney and NEH Chairman Bruce Cole, the
We The People Bookshelf highlights a short list of classic books for young readers at different grade levels. Since 2003, ALA and NEH have awarded
We the People Bookshelves to 2,000 public and school libraries in all 50 states and Guam.

NEH plans to issue a
Bookshelf list each year on themes related to American ideas and ideals. The 2005-2006 theme is “Becoming American” and features 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: “The Lotus Seed” by Sherry Garland; “Watch the Stars Come Out” by Riki Levinson; “Grandfather's Journey” by Allen Say

  • 4th Grade through 6th Grade: “Immigrant Kids” by Russell Freedman; “The People Could Fly: African Black Folktales” by Virginia Hamilton; “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving; “In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson” by Betty Bao Lord

  • 7th Grade through 8th Grade: “Rifles for Watie” by Harold Keith; “The Glory Field” by Walter Dean Myers; “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith; “Dragonwings” by Laurence Yep

  • 9th Grade through 12th Grade: “Death Comes for the Archbishop” by Willa Cather; “Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” edited by Louis P. Masur; “Barrio Boy” by Ernesto Galarza; “Giants in the Earth: A Saga of the Prairie” by Ole Edvart Rølvaag.

Questions about the
We The People Bookshelf should be directed to the ALA Public Programs Office at (800) 545-2433 x 5045 or, or the NEH at (202) 606-8589 or Hearing-impaired applicants can contact NEH via TDD at 1-866-372-2930.

The McCormick Tribune Foundation provides support for the
We The People Bookshelf.

The ALA Public Programs Office fosters cultural programming by libraries of all types. Established in 1990, the office helps thousands of libraries nationwide develop and host programs that encourage dialogue among community members and establish libraries as cultural centers in their communities.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities sup ports 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.