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.
Shades of Gray
by Carolyn Reeder
Macmillan, 1989. Grades 5-8.
Moving from Winchester to live with relatives in the Virginia Piedmont has never been part of 12-year old Will Page’s plans. After his father and brother are killed by Yankees and his little sisters and mother die of illness, Will must honor his mother’s wish that he go to live with her sister’s family in the country.
Not only are there problems adjusting to life with strangers, but everything is different from what Will knows and understands. Will’s family had owned three slaves to do heavy work. Uncle Jed wouldn’t own slaves because he feels it is wrong. In fact, Jed Jones wouldn’t even participate in the war, wouldn’t defend his state’s rights. That, more than anything else, is what Will can’t understand, even as he grows to respect and admire his uncle.
How Will learns that right cannot be measured in black and white terms; good people may hold different opinions; and you can love people even when they don’t agree with you; makesShades of Gray a book that can be enjoyed on several levels.
Great Little Madison
by Jean Fritz
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1989. Grades 4 and up.
James Madison was a sickly, quiet child who grew into one of the most important voices in the formation of our country. This is a vivid portrait of our fourth president told in the wonderful style of Jean Fritz.
Voices from the Civil War
by Milton Meltzer
Harper & Row, 1989. Grades 6 and up.
The history of the Civil War was much more than battles, logistics, soldiers and generals to the people who lived through those years. It was the draft riots, cities under siege, runaway slaves, overworked nurses and doctors, prisoners of war, women at home in the fields and factories, speculators and money grubbers here speaking across the years to tell us what that dreadful time was like for them.
by Robert Newton Peck
Walker, 1989. Grades 7 and up.
Eleven-year-old Arly and his crop picking father live a hard scrabble existence of ignorance and virtual slavery in 1927. Life in Florida seems to offer no hope for spirited Arly, until the new schoolteacher Binnie Hoe, comes to town.
Worthy of Special Note
Extraordinary Black Americans
by Susan Altman
A collective biography comprised of two page highlights of 85 men and women and 15 articles on historical events which give a feel for the times. Each biographical sketch is prefaced with a photograph or sketch.
The book is rated as “an excellent source for reports and assignments and it fills a need for biographical material on a wide range of black historical figures.” (S.L.J.)
by National Gallery of Art
A folk art representation of the alphabet using twenty-six paintings from the National Gallery of Art.
And Also Worth Noting
The Man Who Was Poe
Watts, 1989. Grades 6-9.
Searching for his sister and aunt who have strangely disappeared in Providence, RI in 1848, eleven year-old Edmund enlists the help of Auguste Dupin (a.k.a. Edgar Allen Poe) to discover their whereabouts, thus giving Poe inspiration for a new tale.
Courtship of Joanna
by Catherine Gourley
Graywolf, 1989. Young Adult.
Sixteen-year-old Joanna leaves her beloved family farm to become housekeeper for a recently widowed Irish miner and his mother in a Pennsylvania mining town in the 1880’s. This is an exciting, well-developed story of love, family, and hope in the midst of sorrow, hardship, and danger.
by Sonia Levitin
Atheneum, 1989. Grades 6-8.
Reunited in New York after a year’s separation from Papa, teenager Lisa Platt and her family find that the everyday reality of life in the 1940’s as Jewish immigrants is nothing like that of Americans they have seen in movies. Instead, life is full of poverty, hard work, worry and prejudice. It is also full of strength and spirit. Lisa is determined to make a new and better life for herself and her family and to become an American. This book is a poignant sequel toJourney to America, but can also be read independently.
George and Martha Washington at Home In New York
by Beatrice Siegel
Four Winds, 1989. Grades 4-6.
Combining biography and social history, Siegel presents a lively and informative look into the months that Washington held office in New York City. American history comes alive as a new country and presidency take shape.Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite