Tuesday, July 04, 2006

We the People Bookshelf

Earlier this year, American Fork children's librarian Vicki Turner applied for and received the We the People Bookshelf grant on the theme of Becoming American.

The We the People initiative, a collaboration between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association, is a program that encourages young people to read classic books and explore themes in American history, culture, and ideas.

When the library received the grant -- copies of fifteen classic titles valued at $2,000 -- I challenged myself to read or re-read all fifteen. Here are the titles:

Kindergarten to Grade 3
The Lotus Seed by Sherry Garland
Watch the Stars Come Out by Riki Levinson
Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say

Grades 4 to 6
Immigrant Kids by Russell Freedman
The People Could Fly: The Picture Book by Virginia Hamilton
Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord

Grades 7 to 8

Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith
The Glory Field by Walter Dean Myers
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Dragonwings by Laurence Yep

Grades 9 to 12
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
Barrio Boy by Ernesto Galarza
Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, edited by Louis P. Masur
Giants in the Earth: A Saga of the Prairie by Ole Edvart Rølvaag

The project is well underway, and the reading is richly rewarding. So rewarding, in fact, that I've decided to take it as my next challenge to challenge all the rest of you to join me. Accordingly, with the goal of enticing more readers to these books, I'll be posting reviews here as I finish each title.

We'll call it my way of turning the Fourth of July into a year-long event.


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