For immediate release | April 13, 2010

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

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 seventh 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 “A More Perfect Union.” A full list of Bookshelf recipients will be available at in late April.

In addition to the set of 17 books for young readers, the selected libraries will also receive bonus materials to support library programs, including a DVD edition of “The Civil War,”the award-winning documentary by Ken Burns and posters, bookmarks and bookplates to assist in the promotion of the We the People Bookshelf. Some 1,000 of the selected libraries will also receive three of the Bookshelf titles in Spanish translation.

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 and ALA have distributed 17,000 We the People Bookshelves to public and school libraries.

The We the People Bookshelf on “A More Perfect Union” features 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 Burns”(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

The ALA Public Programs Office promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service in all types and sizes of libraries. Successful library programming initiatives have included “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion series, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs, the Great Stories CLUB, Live! @ your library and more. Recently, the ALA Public Programs Office developed, an online resource center bringing librarians timely and valuable information to support them in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities. For more information on 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. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at

Related Links

We the People Bookshelf Web site

Resources for We the People Bookshelf project directors


Angela Thullen Baker

Program Officer

Public Programs Office (PPO)