NEH, ALA announce We the People Bookshelf awards for 4,000 libraries

Contact: Angela Thullen

ALA Public Programs Office

Program Officer, Communications



For Immediate Release

April 7, 2009

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) selected 4,000 school and public libraries throughout the country to receive the sixth annual We the People Bookshelf. Libraries from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and several U.S. territories will receive the collection of 17 books for young readers on the theme “Picturing America.” A full list of Bookshelf recipients will be available at in mid April.

In addition to the set of 17 books for young readers, the selected libraries will receive three of the titles in Spanish translation, posters, bookmarks and bookplates to assist in the promotion of the We the People Bookshelf, as well as two bonus titles for readers of all ages.

The Bookshelf grants are part of the NEH’s We the People program, which is designed to encourage and enhance the teaching, study and understanding of American history, culture and democratic principles.. Since 2003, NEH and ALA have distributed 13,000 We the People Bookshelves to public and school libraries.

The We the People Bookshelf on “Picturing America” contains the following titles:

  • Kindergarten to Grade 3: “Walt Whitman: Words for America” by Barbara Kerley; “Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez” by Kathleen Krull; “Cosechando esperenza: La historia de César Chávaz” by Kathleen Krull (translated by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy);”The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; “Sweet Music in Harlem” by Debbie Taylor
  • Grades 4 to 6: “The Birchbark House” by Louise Erdrich; “American Tall Tales” by Mary Pope Osborne; “On the Wings of Heroes” by Richard Peck; “Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule” by Harriette Gillem Robinet; “The Captain’s Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe” by Roland Smith

  • Grades 7 to 8: “The Life and Death of Crazy Horse” by Russell Freedman; “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving
    ; “La leyanda de Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving (translated by Manual Broncano); “Across America on an Emigrant Train” by Jim Murphy; “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain

  • Grades 9 to 12: “Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation” by Joseph J. Ellis; “Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange” by Elizabeth Partridge; “Travels with Charley in Search of America” by John Steinbeck; “Viajes Con Charley – En Busca de América” by John Steinbeck (translated by José Manuel Alvarez Flórez); “Democracy in America” by Alexis de Tocqueville

  • Bonus: “Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out” by The National Children’s Book and Literary Alliance; “1776: The Illustrated Edition” by David McCullough

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

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