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.
Lincoln: A Photobiography
by Russell Freedman
Clarion, 1987. Grades 6-12.
Drawing upon Lincoln’s own words and other original sources of the times, Freedman moves beyond the legend of Lincoln to examine the man. Carefully researched details balanced with amusing personal anecdotes reveal an enigmatic personality of sharp contrasts. The keenly focused chronological account begins with his boyhood, traces his career as a young lawyer and aspiring politician, and relates his courtship and marriage to Mary Todd. The coherent and concise narrative skillfully explains the complex issues and personal struggles that Lincoln faced as president, climaxing with his tragic assassination. The book’s beautifully crafted design, carefully chosen photographs and prints, and simple yet eloquent prose create a portrait of Lincoln that rises square and tall like Lincoln himself.
by Russell Freedman
Holiday, 1987. Grades 6-12.
Illustrated with haunting full-page photographic portraits, Freedman’s moving text features the stories of six western Indian chiefs, who each in his own way resisted the intrusion of the white man into his tribal lands. Each of the six well-written biographies uses quotations, maps and vivid character sketches to trace the culture conflict between the white man and Native American.
West Against the Wind
by Liza Ketchum Murrow
Holiday, 1987. Grades 6-9.
It is 1850 and 14 -year-old Abigail Parker is traveling west from Missouri with her family by wagon train. Hoping to find her father, who is panning for gold in California and has lost contact with the family, Abby and her family overcome the adversities of an unkind wilderness trail. A brilliant portrait of pioneer life with a strong, realistic, and likeable female protagonist.
by Mildred Taylor
Dial, 1987. Grades 4-6.
Growing up in rural Mississippi in 1933, Cassie Logan and her young black friends witness elderly black Tom Bee’s struggle for dignity as he refuses courageously to be intimidated by white folks’ expectations. The classic racial confrontation climaxes in a frightening and emotionally charged scene.
Worthy of Special Note
by Leonard Everett Fisher
Holiday, 1987. Grades 3-6.
The history of the Alamo comes alive through the author’s enthusiastic narrative style punctuated with fascinating personal information about heroes, known and unknown.
Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution
by Jean Fritz
Putnam, 1987. Grades 3-6.
The drafting of the Constitution in 1787 is entertainingly and simply explained without sacrificing facts and details.
An Actor’s Life for Me!
by Lillian Gish
Viking, 1987. Grades 4-7.
The stage and screen actress recounts her childhood in traveling theatrical troupe in the early 1900’s. Anecdotal in format, Gish’s account is both amusing and poignant.
Death of the Iron Horse
by Paul Goble
Bradbury, 1987. Grades 1-3.
The derailment of a Union Pacific Train in 1867 is told from a Native American point of view. Young Cheyenne warriors, using tomahawks and knives, destroy the iron trail of this thundering, smoke breathing threat to their homeland.
by Brett Harvey
Holiday, 1987. Grades 1-4.
Set in 1910 on New York’s Lower East Side the joyful story and expressive charcoal illustrations depict immigrant life as seen through the eyes of a 10-year-old Russian Jewish girl, Becky.
In Coal Country
by Judith Hendershot
Knopf, 1987. Grades K-2.
Family life a coal mining town from a child’s perspective offers the reader poignant and vivid insights. Muted color illustrations convey the pervasiveness of grime and grayness.
A More Perfect Union
by Besty & Giulio Maestro
Lothrop, 1987. Grades 2-4.
This complex event is simply told making it comprehensible for young children. The Maestros focus on the delegates’ ability to compromise and their attention to detail, in establishing a government, which has lasted for 200 years. Pastel illustrations underscore details of this milestone in American history.
The American Revolutionaries: A History in their Own Words, 1750-1800
by Milton Meltzer
Crowell, 1987. Grades 6-12.
Letters, diaries, journals, newspapers and speeches are sources the author uses to depict life and events in the American colonies as they struggle to become the modern world’s first democracy.
by Blythe Randolph
Watts, 1987. Grades 7-9.
Amelia Earhart’s disappearance while on a round-the-world flight in 1937 sparked a mystery with innumerable theories and added to the romance of her exploit as pilot. Randolph’s well-written account depicts Earhart as a courageous and fascinating woman.
And Also Worth Noting
by Patricia Beatty
Morrow, 1987. Grades 5-8.
A young tough from the Bowery, filled with glorious visions of war, joins the Union Army as a drummer boy. Panic-stricken, he deserts, during his first battle. Guilt-ridden and shame-faced, he seeks refuge in the Virginia mountains, where he proves his courage.
A Month of Seven Days
by Shirely Climo
Thomas Crowell, 1987. Grades 4-7.
When 12-year-old Zoe learns that her father, a Confederate Solider, is planning a visit, she tries ingeniously to chase off the Yankee soldiers occupying their Georgia farm by conjuring up spirits and ghosts.
We the People: The Story of the Untied States Constitution Since 1787
by Doris & Harold Faber
Scribner, 1987. Grades 7-12.
Outstanding chapters on the controversies and compromises faced by the Founding Fathers highlight this comprehensive history of the U.S. Constitution from its inception to modern day.Start Slide Show with PicLens Lite