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.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
by Russell Freedman
Clarion, 1990. Grades 5-9.
The Great Depression left a scar on the economic and social life of the United States. The recurrence of that Depression is still a tangible fear in the minds of those who lived through it. Also tangible is the image of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the man to whom the country turned for hope, help, and understanding.
Yet, when he was born, the pampered only child of elderly parents, he seemed the least likely to be the one who would understand the burdens and cares of the dispossessed and the millions who stood in bread lines, rode the rails, or simply scratched their way through another year of drought, bank failure, unemployment, and starvation. Roosevelt did understand. He understood because through no fault of his, in the midst of a busy and productive life, he was made helpless by polio. He thought that governments have a responsibility to help their citizens through rough times.
This view of government made Roosevelt much reviled among the rich privileged classes, but made him much beloved by millions who depended upon him and the government to help them. He never again stood unaided after his attack of polio, but the American people saw him as a powerful, charismatic president—the only one they elected for four consecutive terms—whose social conscience cast a long shadow upon the political life of the United States.
In this full biography, Russell Freedman brigs Roosevelt and his times to life. Through skillful writing, meticulous research and telling photographs, the reader understands the complexity of the times and the power of this most fascinating and many faceted man.
Other Bells For Us To Ring
by Robert Cormier
Delacorte, 1990. Grades 5-12.
A shy and introspective only child, Darcy’s only close relationship has been with her parents until she moves to a new town and meets precocious and friendly Mary Kathleen.
Not only is Mary Kathleen enterprising and flamboyant, she is also Catholic. Catholicism holds mystery for Darcy whose interest is piqued when she and Mary Kathleen spy on saintly Sister Angela who is performing “miracles” in the church courtyard.
Later, when impulsive Mary Kathleen sprinkles Darcy with holy water and pronounces her a Catholic, Darcy wonders if she really has become one. Before she can question Mary Kathleen further, her friend mysteriously disappears. To add to Darcy’s anxiety and loneliness, her father enlists to fight in World War II and is shortly thereafter reported missing in action.
A private encounter with Sister Angela, the return of her father, and a tragic revelation about the abrupt disappearance of Mary Kathleen move Darcy from the safe and concrete world of the child into the ambiguities and paradoxes of adulthood.
True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle
Orchard Books, 1990. Grades 5-8.
“Not every thirteen-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty”. So begins Avi’s rousing historical novel, which tells the story of Charlotte and her fateful voyage on the Seahawk in 1832. Ignoring several ominous warnings, Charlotte boards the ship and soon finds herself caught in a mutinous conflict between the brutal, unbalanced Captain Jaggery and the ship’s long-suffering crew. Charlotte’s loyalties are initially with the heartless but “gentlemanly” captain. When she sees the captain’s madness revealed in horrifying detail, she risks her life to side with the crew.
Worthy of Special Note
Vietnam, Why We Fought: An Illustrated History
by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
Knopf, 1990. Grades 5-12.
The Hooblers have written penetrating step by step analysis of how the U.S. became involved, escalated, and ultimately withdrew, from the most divisive war in the 20th century. They dissect the conflict with precision, giving thoughtfulness to new terminology, maps, and photos.
The depth of comprehension of the war’s geopolitical and personal complexities as well as its myriad of repercussions makes this book unprecedented in juvenile literature. The authors are especially sensitive to presenting the balance between the Vietnamese perspectives and motivations within a historical context, with those of colonial French and the United States.
by Susan E. Meyer
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1990. Grades 4-7.
American painter Mary Cassatt prevailed against societal norms, not only as a woman artist but also as the only American to be invited into the Impressionists group in Paris. Her strong personality, hard work and love of family are vividly portrayed for young people in this handsomely designed volume illustrated with contemporary photographs and many color plates.
by Gary Paulsen
Delacorte, 1990. Grades 5-9.
Literally stumbling across the skull of an Indian boy who lived 100 years ago in the mountains of New Mexico, 15-year-old Brennan finds himself relentlessly pursuing the mystery of the Apache’s murder. A link of psychic proportions joins the two boys as Brennan fights to return the skull to the sacred Indian burying ground in the canyon.
The Buck Stops Here: The Presidents Of The United States
by Alice Provinsen
Harper & Row, 1990. All ages.
A book to delight all ages with its colorful period tableaux depicts the history of the presidents of the United States. In entertaining detail the book provides a perspective on America’s past—its art, architecture, fashion, ideas and values—through marvelous symbols and pictures tucked artistically within the tableau of each presidential term.
The rhyming couplets add another dimension to the already colorful book and the author suggests the rhymes may aid in remembering the president’s names and the order in which they served.
… Also Worth Noting
by Nancy Bolick and Sallie Randolph
Walker, 1990. Grades 4-7.
From the circular saw to a pill-making machine, the Shakers invented many labor saving devices to help them live in cleanliness, order, purity, good health, hard work, simplicity, and avoidance of waste. They wanted the time to worship God.
Many Lives Of Benjamin Franklin
by Mary Pope Osborne
Dial Books for Young Readers, 1990. Grades 4-7.
Franklin’s formal education ended at age ten, but he used his love of reading to become a printer’s apprentice, writer, publisher, merchant, inventor, scientist, educator, politician, statesman, militia colonel, postmaster, general, diplomat, and peacemaker. The many lives of Benjamin Franklin helped to shape the character of America.
by Leonard Everett Fisher
Holiday House, 1990. Grades 4-7.
A vivid, exciting, dramatic depiction of the lifestyles, motives and hardships of the thousands of fur traders, missionaries, and families who endured the grueling 2000 miles west along the Oregon Trail.
Great Monkey Trial: Science Versus Fundamentalism In America
by Tom McGowan
Watts, 1990. Grades 5-9.
On a hot and humid July in 1925 John Scopes went on trial in Dayton, Tennessee, accused of teaching evolution in a public high school. The significance of the trial went far beyond the wrangling of small- town controversy. The trial’s outcome would influence whether public schools would be free to teach scientific fact or would have to be confined by religious doctrine.
Morning Glory War
by Judy Glassman
Dutton, 1990. Grades 4-7.
World War II is raging across the ocean, but in Brooklyn it’s school as usual and movies on Saturday afternoon for eleven-year-old Jeannie. Then suddenly the war begins to touch Jeannie’s life. In a school letter writing project to servicemen, her pen pal turns out to be a dreamboat who thinks she is at least 16 years old.
by Peter Golenbock, designed & illustrated by Paul Bacon
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990. Grades 1-5.
Jackie Robinson’s entrance into the major leagues as the first black baseball player is presented in this quiet but dramatic book that addresses the pain of prejudice, and the courage of two men who stood against it.Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite