2011 Jefferson Cup Winners and Honor Books

Sparky wins the 2011 Jefferson Cup

The 2011 Jefferson Cup Committee is pleased to announce its selections for this year's award. The 2011 Jefferson Cup Award winner is Beverly Gherman for Sparky: The Life and Art of Charles Schulz.

Writing in a style that is accessible yet fresh, Beverly Gherman paints a fun portrait of cartoonist Charles Schulz’s life. Gherman uses wonderful anecdotes from Schulz’s life in order to make this biography fun and accessible. She does not shy away from less positive aspects of his life, but paints a very true portrait that will interest readers and inspire them to look at his cartoons in a different light. What Gherman manages to beautifully capture is the notion that, while Charles Schulz — like Charlie Brown — never got to kick that football or win the little red-haired girl’s heart, he truly got to do so much more.

Honor Books

The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery by Steve Sheinkin and Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey were chosen as honor books. Sterling Biographies, published by Sterling ~ Young Adult, and Six Questions of American History, published by Lerner Publishing, bothe received the Series Worthy of Note designation.

Sterling Biographies is an attractive and approachable biographical series that examines the lives of historical figures in the context of their times. Combining fast action with anecdotes and analysis, the authors have created books which make for fascinating leisure reading as well as being useful for report writing. The research is thorough and documented and the writing is concise, clear and engaging.

Six Questions of American History not only presents nonfiction material in a visually appealing manner, but also contains features that will help readers improve their nonfiction reading skills. The colorful layout that contains maps, photographs, drawings and reprints of important documents will attract readers, but it is the six questions that are asked throughout the book that will keep their interest.

About the Jefferson Cup

The Jefferson Cup honors a distinguished biography, historical fiction or American history book for young people. Presented since 1983, the Jefferson Cup Committee’s goal is 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.

The committee has nine members: a chairperson (selected by the previous year’s committee), one person from each Virginia Library Association region (total of six persons) selected by the current chair, the past chair of the previous year’s Jefferson Cup Committee, and the chairperson or outgoing chairperson of the Youth Services Forum. All committee members are members of VLA. For more information about the committee, visit the Jefferson Cup Committee page.