Grateful American Book Prize

Give your kids the gift of a good read this holiday season

WASHINGTON, DC, Dec 10 – This holiday season give the kids in your life a meaningful gift—like a memorable read, according to education advocate David Bruce Smith.

“Books are ammunition for imagination—and a contributor to one’s success, especially when they propel us to learn the hows and whys of the past. Books teach young people how to think; they spur ideas, and develop the art of decision making,” says Smith.

The author and publisher has devoted part of his life to helping children learn about who they are, where they come from, and how to learn about all the possibilities that await them. That is why he, and the late Dr. Bruce Cole, former chairman of the National Endowment of the Humanities, co-founded the Grateful American Book Prize.

Their purpose was to initiate an early love of historical fiction and/or non-fiction, so that students would have an early understanding and appreciation about their past.

“The Prize has certainly had an impact in encouraging authors and their publishers to produce works like this since we inaugurated the award in 2015,” notes Smith. He offers a few old/new book recommendations that might prompt a “gee whiz” moment in young people, which also include all of the winners and runners-up of the Grateful American Book Prize:

Suspect Red [2018 Prize winner] and Hamilton and Peggy [2018 Honorable Mention] by L.M. Elliott. This was the first time an author received both awards. “I’ve learned that the past gives us the perfect prism through which to view the issues of today,” says Elliott.

Andrew Jackson, [2018 Honorable Mention], by Teri Kanefield. “Biography humanizes the past,” according to Kanefield.

Hidden Figures, [2017 Prize winner], by Margot Lee Shetterly

Dreamland Burning [2017 Honorable Mention], by Jennifer Latham

The Story of John Quincy Adams 250 Years After His Birth [2017 Honorable Mention], by Edward Cody Huddleston

The Drum of Destiny, [2016 Prize winner] by Chris Stevenson

Freedom’s Price, [2016 Honorable Mention], by Michaela MacColl and Rosemary Nichols

The Hired Girl, [2016 Honorable Mention], by Laura Amy Schlitz

Like a River: A Civil War Novel, [2015 Prize winner], by Kathy Cannon Wiechman

Wheels of Change, [2015 Honorable Mention], by Darlene Beck Jacobson

The Revelation of Louisa May, [2015 Honorable Mention], by Michaela MacColl


In addition, Smith also suggests:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Ordinary People by Judith Guest

My Antonia by Willa Cather

Follow My Leader by James B. Garfield

NOTE TO EDITORS: Historically accurate books of fiction and nonfiction for children 11 to 15 years of age, published between July 1, 2018 and July 31, 2019, are eligible for the 2019 Prize. Submissions will be accepted from January 1, 2019 through July 31, 2019.