2015 Jefferson Cup Winners and Honor Books

Red Madness and Hello, I’m Johnny Cash Win 2015 Jefferson Cup

The Jefferson Cup Committee is pleased to announce its selections for this year’s awards. The 2015 Jefferson Cup Award for Older Readers went to Gail Jarrow for Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat. The 2015 Jefferson Cup Award for Younger Readers went to G. Neri for Hello, I’m Johnny Cash

Red Madness traces the story of pellagra in the United States from isolating the disease to an eventual cure, as well as the intensely personal trials of the tens of thousands afflicted and persecuted during the early twentieth-century. Hello, I’m Johnny Cash, unanimously selected by the committee as the winner for younger readers, is an age appropriate free verse biography of Johnny Cash that stretches from Cash’s extremely poor beginnings to his eventual success with amazingly beautiful illustrations that bring his story to life.

Honor Books

Halley by Faye Gibbons, Pure Grit: How American World War II Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific by Mary Cronk Farrell, and Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana were selected as honor books for older readers.  

For younger readers, Ben Franklin's Big Splash: The Mostly True Story of His First Invention by Barb Rosenstock, George Washington's Rules to Live By: A Good Manners Guide from the Father of our Country by K.M. Kostyal, President Taft Stuck in the Bath by Mac Barnett, and Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything by Maira Kalman were selected as honor books. The I am… and Who was ? series’ both received the Series Worthy of Note designation for young readers for their informative, captivating biographies for ages 5-8 and 8-12 respectively.

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 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. Visit the Jefferson Cup Committee page to learn more about the committee.

–Submitted by Susan Taylor Catlett, 2015 Jefferson Cup Committee Chair