Jefferson Cup Criteria


1.)    The book must be an original work published in the year prior to the selection.

2.)    The author must reside in the United States (There is no requirement to live in Virginia).

3.)    The book must be published for young people.

4.)    The book may have won other awards.

5.)    The book must be about U.S. History or an American person, or fiction which highlights the United States past, 1492 to present.

6.)    The book must be accurate, informative, well-researched, unbiased, literate, and give a clear and interesting picture of America’s past.

Selection Criteria

  1. Biography
    1. Gives a clear and accurate account of a historical figure.
    2. Interprets character as well as recounts deeds.
    3. Helps young people develop a sense of the historical period.
    4. Places historical people in the context of their time.
    5. Enlivens facts with wit and imagination.
    6. Treats biographic subjects honestly and without bias.
    7. Concerns a person whose life’s work is comprehensible and meaningful to a young person
    8. Shows evidence of thorough research; is well organized and documented.
    9. Is written in a clear and lively style.
  1. History
    1. History is presented with accuracy and authenticity
    2. Material is well researched; no glaring omissions.
    3. Generalizations are supported by facts.
    4. Distinctions are made between fact and theory.
    5. Material is well organized and indexed.
    6. Writing and subject matter is comprehensible to a young person.
    7. Objectivity of work is not distorted by author’s own bias.
    8. Style is clear, literate and lively, not condescending.
    9. Illustrations are clear, appropriate, reproduced well, and pertinent to the text.
    10. Contributes to a young person’s sense of the past; makes history more relevant and immediate.  

       3. Historical Fiction

    1. Plot is plausible and allows well-developed characters to grow in ways meaningful to young people.
    2. Avoids obviously superimposed theories, themes or didactic purposes.
    3. Style is appropriate to the period and to characters, and avoids anachronistic expressions and inconsistencies.
    4. Background and details are accurate and integrated unobtrusively into the story.
    5. Characterization is appropriate for the times and uncontaminated by modern values or hindsight.
    6. Movement between time periods is clear and not unnecessarily complex.
    7. Life in a distinct time and place is portrayed vividly and with respect.
    8. When fantasy is employed (as in time travel stories) it does not distort the understanding of the historical period.