The Jefferson Cup Award honors a distinguished American biography, historical fiction or history book for young people. The Youth Services Forum of the Virginia Library Association has presented this award annually since the 1982 publishing year. Through the award, the Youth Services Forum seeks to promote reading about America’s past, to encourage the quality writing of United States history, biography and historical fiction for young people, and to recognize authors in these disciplines.
Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco
Grades 4 and up.
Pink and Say tells the story of two young Union soldiers. Wounded and delirious, left to die on a Civil War battlefield, Sheldon Russell Curtis thinks he is dreaming when Pinkus Aylee appears before him. Say had never seen a black person so close before. Pink helps Say to safety, and, while hiding out in Confederate territory, the two boys become friends. Relating a tale that has been passed through generations of her family, Polacco depicts the effects of war in a personal manner. She effectively explores how racism, slavery, and random death can co-exist with bravery, strength of purpose and concern for others.
Polacco’s illustrations artfully extend the story, showing the characters’ emotions shift from hopefulness to pain, tenderness to fear, remorse to remembrance. Integrated with the drawings are actual family photographs of Say and his descendants.
by Trudy Krisher
Delacorte, 1994. Grades 9 and up.
In the summer of 1960, Kinship, Georgia, is strictly divided by racial lines. Maggie, 13, feels more isolated than most because of her abusive mother, bullying next-door neighbor, and the Black friends no white girl can safely have. Some people try to erect physical and psychological spite fences to lock out those who are different. Maggie is not comfortable with all of Kinship’s fences. Using a camera, she starts to freeze life in snapshots so she can try to understand everything that is locked in and around her.
Celebrate America in Poetry and Art
Edited by Nora Panzer in association with the National Museum of American Art
Hyperion, 1994. Grades 3 and up.
From the collection of the National Museum of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution come these paintings, sculptures, drawings, and photographs to accompany poetry of Americans. The American experience in all its vastness is expressed here, including the many peoples that have come to make up America, the unique landscapes, the political events that shaped the country’s early years, economic factors such as the Industrial Revolution, and the everyday activities that define a particular place in time. The verbal and visual images will fill readers with pride in the many faces of America.
Worthy of Special Note
Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor
by Russell Freedman
Clarion, 1994. Grades 5-9.
Freedman documents reporter, teacher, and photographer Lewis Hine’s efforts to end the exploitation of children in the workplace in the early twentieth century. The compelling text gives life to Hine’s wrenching pictures of children dwarfed by heavy machinery, carrying heavy loads in fields or markets, or tired and dirty from day in the coals mines.
Thomas Jefferson, A Picture Book Biography
by James Cross Giblin, illustrated by Michael Dooling
Scholastic, 1994. Grades 2-5.
In simple, precise language, complemented by Dooling’s illustrations, Giblin skillfully captures the essence of our nation’s third President.
Unconditional Surrender: U.S. Grant and the Civil War
by Albert Marrin
Virginia’s General: Robert E. Lee and the Civil War
by Albert Marrin
Atheneum, 1994. Grades 6-10.
Extensively researched and highly readable, Marrin’s biographies of Grant and Lee are excellent companion volumes. Numerous illustrations and clear, concise text highlight these finely drawn portraits of the Civil War’s two most famous commanders.
A Stitch in Time
by Ann Rinaldi
Harcourt Brace, 1994. Grades 6-9.
In Post- Revolutionary Salem, Massachusetts, Hannah, the eldest of five children, holds together her motherless family while trying to deflect her father’s cruelty. Binding the siblings is a patchwork quilt project begun by Hannah made up of scraps of fabric from family and friend. Part one of a trilogy.
by Harriette Gillem Robinet
Atheneum, 1994. Grades 4-8.
Life is dangerous for twelve-year-old Shortning Bread Jackson and his family. His father is in jail for stealing a car that everyone knows he did not steal, and the sharecropper family is having a hard time surviving. Shortning decides he must do something to get his father released from jail. Since rumors rule events in this town, Shortning starts passing the word that the FBI is sending an agent to investigate his father’s imprisonment.
by Judith St. George
Putnam, 1994. Grades 8 and up.
Know primarily for his defeat of General Custer at the battle of Little Big Horn, this biography reveals the courage and loyalty Crazy Horse showed his family, friends and the tribe during the Sioux Wars fought on the Great Plains.
I am an American: A True Story of Japanese Internment
by Jerry Stanley
Crown, 1994. Grades 5-8.
Based on a personal interviews and extensive research, I Am An American describes one man’s experience and the larger story of Japanese interment in America during the World War II. Although he was born in Berkeley, California in 1923, Shi Nomura and almost 120,000 Japanese-Americas like him were imprisoned by the federal government in 1942-1945. They had committed no crime, yet they lost their homes and businesses. Compelling photographs add to the book’s veracity and immediacy in examining this bleak chapter in American history.
by Mary Stolz
Knopf, 1994. Grades 7-10.
The fascinating flight of an intrepid young runaway slave is recounted in lively prose as the boy makes his way halfway across a continent and back again. His plantation childhood, harrowing journey on the Underground Railroad, and new life as a cowboy in the American West produce an intriguing story of an uniquely American hero.
Series Award Winner
African-American Artists and Artisans
by Mary E. Lyons
1994 titles include Deep Blues: Bill Traylor, Self-Taught Artist and Master of Mahogany: Tom Day, Free Black Cabinetmaker, Scribners.
Series Honor Winner
Young Oxford History of Women in the United States
by Nancy F. Cott, General Editor
1994 titles include From Ballots to Breadlines: American Women 1920-1940 and The Road to Equality: American Women Since 1962, Oxford.Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite