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.
Anthony Burns: The Defeat and Triumph of a Fugitive Slave
by Virginia Hamilton
Knopf, 1988. Grades 7 and up.
Born into slavery in ante-bellum Virginia, Anthony Burns secured his place in history when he fled to Boston in 1854. After a few short months of freedom, he was arrested, tried and returned to slavery—all under the questionable legality of the Fugitive Slave Law. His incarceration and trail provoked a storm of controversy and abolitionist activity which led to demonstrations, riots, and violence. In re-telling the daily events of the trial, the author effectively portrays the political tensions which brought the nation to a fever pitch in the years before the Civil War. After much suffering, Anthony Burns obtained his freedom and fulfilled his dream of becoming a preacher, only to die of consumption at the age of 28. Virginia Hamilton’s stunning accomplishment is both a scholarly biography and a passionate drama of one man’s struggle for freedom.
by Russell Freedman
Holiday, 1988. Grades 4-7.
Beautiful, full-color reproductions of contemporary artists illustrate this history of the relationship between the Plains Indians and the buffalo. The author’s vivid account details the uses the Indians had for every part of the animal and how the fabric of their society disintegrated with disappearance of the buffalo.
Benjamin Franklin: the New American
by Milton Meltzer
Watts, 1988. Grades 6-9.
Incorporating Benjamin Franklin’s own words from primary source materials, Meltzer presents an engagingly human portrait of America’s best known self-made man. This disarmingly frank chronological account of Franklin’s various endeavors from printer to scientist to statesman captures the essence of a complex personality in a readable, forthright style.
Behind Rebel Lines
by Seymour Reit
HBJ, 1988. Grades 5-8.
Using original source material including Edmonds’ memoirs, Reit has created an enthralling biography of fascinating woman who posed as a man and served in the Union Army. Edmonds’ exploits as a Union spy (in a variety of disguises) are engagingly detailed in a tightly written, fast paced style.
And Also Worth Noting
The Smithsonian Book of Flight for Young People
by Walter Boyne
Atheneum, 1988. Grades 7 and up.
This history of human flight “from man’s oldest dreams… to the present jet age” combines a clear, concise text with nearly one hundred illustrations to tell the story of how the dream became reality.
A Girl from Yamhill: A Memoir
by Beverly Cleary
Morrow, 1988. Grades 6-12.
The beloved children’s author tells her own story of growing up on a farm and, later, in Portland with events both funny and poignant. Children will especially enjoy the glimpses of Ramona in the young Beverly.
by Barbara Cooney
Viking, 1988. Grades Preschool-3.
“At first it was just the island” until the Tibbitts family makes it their home. It is Matthais, the youngest of 12 children, whose life from childhood to old age is entwined with that of the New England island.
by Leonard Everett Fisher
Holiday, 1988. Grades 3-7.
Thomas Jefferson, architect as well as president, spent 40 years building his home, a structure unique in American architecture. This handsomely designed “biography” of the house describe the planning, construction, and history of Monticello.
Log Cabin in the Woods: A True Story about a Pioneer Boy
by Joanne Henry Landers
Four Winds, 1988. Grades 4-6.
Oliver Johnson’s memories form the basis of this month-by-month account of his boyhood activities on a clearing farm in the wilderness of early 19th century Indiana.
A Circle Unbroken
by Sollace Hotze
Clarion, 1988. Grades 6-9.
Captured by the Dakota Sioux in 1838 and brought up as the chief’s daughter, Rachel Porter is return by force to a life with a widowed father she barely remembers. His disapproval of her Indian upbringing complicates her adjustment and influences her decision to return to her Sioux family.
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree
by Gloria Houston
Dial, 1988. Grades 1-4.
When young Ruthie’s papa is delayed in returning home from the war on Christmas Eve 1918, she and her mother must undertake a late night expedition to cut the perfect balsam for their Appalachian mountain community.
The War for Independence: The Story of the American Revolution
by Albert Marrin
Atheneum, 1988. Grades 5-12.
This action-packed and highly readable account captures all of the excitement and drama of the American Revolution for young readers.
The Coming Home Café
by Gayle Pearson
Atheneum, 1988. Grades 6-9.
Driven to despair by her family’s sinking fortunes in the Depression, 15 year old Elizabeth impulsively leaves home with Eddie, a hobo, in order to find work. Gritty realistic description and authentic historical detail make Elizabeth’s saga a compelling read.
by N. A. Perez
Houghton, 1988. Grades 7-12.
After his father is killed in a mining accident, 14 year old Pat is forced to go to work in the coal mine breaker. This riveting story graphically conveys the harsh conditions of life in an early 1900’s Pennsylvania mining community.
Barnstormers and Daredevils
by K. C. Tessendorf
Atheneum, 1988. Grades 6-9.
Numerous pictures illustrate this story of the intrepid young men and women who roamed the United States in surplus biplanes during the 1920’s. They performed daring aerobatics and crowd-pleasing stunts, risking life and limb to introduce America to the wonders of flight.
Follow the Drinking Gourd
by Jeanette Winter
Knopf, 1988. Grades 2-4.
Told in a few poetic words (and the lines of the song) and with highly dramatic illustrations, the author conveys the fear, dread and hope of slaves following the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada.Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite