Author Kathy Cannon Wiechman Receives the Grateful American Book Prize

‘History can use the help of a ‘good read’ to generate enthusiasm among young people’

The first annual Grateful American Book Prize will be officially awarded tonight to author Kathy Cannon Wiechman for her work of historical fiction, Like a River: A Civil War Novel, at a ceremony to be held at President Lincoln’s Cottage here.

David Bruce Smith, co-founder of the Prize, has called the work “a page-turner about the plight of a pair of teens caught up in the conflict between the states. It brings home the essence of what the war was all about and is bound to quickly engage readers, particularly young readers. It’s an exemplar of what the Prize is all about—to encourage authors and publishers to produce fiction and nonfiction that accurately depict the past as a means of showing young readers that history is not quite as boring as they may have thought.”

Dr. Bruce Cole, the former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, inspired Smith to pursue the establishment of the Prize. Cole, who is also co-founder of the award, has described the U.S. as “a country of historical amnesiacs.” He believes that the Prize will give publishers, established authors and those just getting started an important focus on readable books about American history. “History can use the help of a ‘good read’ to generate enthusiasm among young people.”

Author Wiechman agreed. “My passion for US History came during my school years, not from history class, but from reading biographies and historical fiction, books that made history come alive. When I write, my goal is to make history live and breathe for today’s readers the way it does for me. Having Like a River honored by this inaugural award gives me hope that I can accomplish that goal,”

Weichman’s Prize comes with a cash award of $13,000 representing the original 13 colonies. Wiechman will also receive a medallion created for the occasion by Smith’s mother, artist Clarice Smith.

Two additional authors were also acknowledged by the panel with Honorable Mention Certificates, Darlene Beck Jacobson’s novel, Wheels of Change, which confronts Washington DC’s racial turbulence during Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency, and Michaela MacColl’s, The Revelation of Louisa May, a deftly appealing combination of actual events and history culled from the life of Louisa May Alcott.

The judges of 2015 consisted of co-founders Smith and Cole as well as Dr. Rod Paige, former U.S. Secretary of Education, Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO, New-York Historical Society, Dr. Douglas Bradburn, author, historian and Founding Director of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon, and John Danielson, founder of Chartwell Education Group and former Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Education.

Author Kathy Cannon Wiechman Receives the Grateful American Book Prize

Author Kathy Cannon Wiechman receives the Grateful American Book Prize

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct 22 – The first annual Grateful American Book Prize will be officially awarded tonight to author Kathy Cannon Wiechman for her work of historical fiction, Like a River: A Civil War Novel, at a ceremony to be held at President Lincoln’s Cottage here.


Author Kathy Cannon Wiechman receives the Grateful American Book Prize
Author Kathy Cannon Wiechman receives the Grateful American Book Prize
Author Kathy Cannon Wiechman receives the Grateful American Book Prize

David Bruce Smith, co-founder of the Prize, has called the work “a page-turner about the plight of a pair of teens caught up in the conflict between the states. It brings home the essence of what the war was all about and is bound to quickly engage readers, particularly young readers. It’s an exemplar of what the Prize is all about—to encourage authors and publishers to produce fiction and nonfiction that accurately depict the past as a means of showing young readers that history is not quite as boring as they may have thought.”

Dr. Bruce Cole, the former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, inspired Smith to pursue the establishment of the Prize. Cole, who is also co-founder of the award, has described the U.S. as “a country of historical amnesiacs.” He believes that the Prize will give publishers, established authors and those just getting started an important focus on readable books about American history. “History can use the help of a ‘good read’ to generate enthusiasm among young people.”

Author Wiechman agreed. “My passion for US History came during my school years, not from history class, but from reading biographies and historical fiction, books that made history come alive. When I write, my goal is to make history live and breathe for today’s readers the way it does for me. Having Like a River honored by this inaugural award gives me hope that I can accomplish that goal,”

Weichman’s Prize comes with a cash award of $13,000 representing the original 13 colonies. Wiechman will also receive a medallion created for the occasion by Smith’s mother, artist Clarice Smith.

Two additional authors were also acknowledged by the panel with Honorable Mention certificates at the event with Honorable Mention Certificates, Darlene Beck Jacobson’s novel, Wheels of Change, which confronts Washington DC’s racial turbulence during Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency, and Michaela MacColl’s, The Revelation of Louisa.

Author Kathy Cannon Wiechman receives the Grateful American Book Prize
Author Kathy Cannon Wiechman receives the Grateful American Book Prize
Author Kathy Cannon Wiechman receives the Grateful American Book Prize
Author Kathy Cannon Wiechman receives the Grateful American Book Prize
Author Kathy Cannon Wiechman receives the Grateful American Book Prize
Author Kathy Cannon Wiechman receives the Grateful American Book Prize
Author Kathy Cannon Wiechman receives the Grateful American Book Prize
Author Kathy Cannon Wiechman receives the Grateful American Book Prize

Arts Events for Downrigging Weekend 2015

Join us during Downrigging Weekend – A Tall Ship and Wooden Boat Festival in America’s Best Preserved Colonial SeaportBoats, Art, Music, Books, Lectures and More – Thursday, October 29-  Sunday, November 1, 2015

Start the Festival by seeing a nautical movie.

THE BOUNTY
Thursday, October 29 / 7:00pm
Sumner Hall
206 South Queen Street

FREE

Powerhouse actors Anthony Hopkins, Mel Gibson, Daniel Day Lewis, and Liam Neeson have at it in this 1984 adaptation of the classic Bounty story.  While rated PG, be aware that there are some scantily clad actors in this film.   Eye candy for all – that’s what we say!

FULL FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

Let’s Talk Live: Grateful American Foundation Shines a Light on National History Day

Let’s Talk Live host Kidd O’Shea asked Cathy Gorn, director of National History Day — and David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American Foundation about the 41st annual National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD. More than 600,000 students from around the world competed in five categories: documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances, and websites.

Learn more about The Grateful American Foundation and National History Day.

Teachers engage students in history lessons with the use of historical novels and biographies

WASHINGTON, Oct 8 – Teachers are using historical fiction and nonfiction to enhance their classroom lessons. “It illuminates time periods, helps me integrate the curriculum, and enriches social studies,” according to one teacher who has embraced the use of appropriate non-textbook reading materials to engage young learners.

The teacher’s comments were posted on the Web site of the Scholastic publishing company. “I have students balance fiction with fact, validate historical hypotheses with research. Historical fiction is the spice.”

David Bruce Smith, co-founder of the Grateful American Book Prize, says the teacher’s remarks underscore the purpose of the Prize, the first of which will be awarded to author Kathy Cannon Wiechman for her book, Like a River: A Civil War Novel, at a ceremony on October 22nd at President Lincoln’s Cottage in D.C.

Smith, an author and publisher, is also an education advocate with a special focus on the teaching of American history. “The award was the brainchild of the former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Dr. Bruce Cole. When he described his idea to me, I immediately surrounded myself with people who could help make it a reality.”

Cole, who has described the U.S. as “a country of historical amnesiacs,” and Smith have long shared a concern that history has taken a back seat to math and science in education, especially in early education. “Over the past several decades schools have gradually deemphasized history. The result is: now, many kids do not even know the basic facts such as who George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were,” Smith says.

The Prize was designed to stimulate authors and publishers to produce well-researched works of fiction and nonfiction that engage students in the events and personalities that have shaped American history, he says. “Teachers such as the one quoted on the Scholastic Web site are able to use such books to make history class less boring.”

Wiechman’s Like a River, which tells the story of a pair of teenage Union soldiers, was chosen as the winner because it is a compelling tale based on fact which leaves readers—especially young ones—with a sense of understanding about a major part of the past.

Two additional books will also be cited at the ceremony with Honorable Mention Certificates: Darlene Beck Jacobson’s novel, Wheels of Change, which confronts Washington DC’s racial turbulence during Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency, and Michaela MacColl’s, The Revelation of Louisa May, a deftly appealing combination of actual events and history culled from the life of Louisa May Alcott.

Lisa Cucciniello, a teacher and an author, is also a strong proponent of using historical novels and biographies as a supplemental tool of learning. “Students often have a difficult time connecting the past to the present. If a teacher cannot even get the events of the past across to the students, the connection with the present is impossible. One way to engage young adults is to have them read works of historical fiction.”

Teachers Engage Students in History with Historical Novels

Teachers are using historical fiction and nonfiction to enhance their classroom lessons. “It illuminates time periods, helps me integrate the curriculum, and enriches social studies,” according to one teacher who has embraced the use of appropriate non-textbook reading materials to engage young learners.

The teacher’s comments were posted on the Web site of the Scholastic publishing company. “I have students balance fiction with fact, validate historical hypotheses with research. Historical fiction is the spice.”

David Bruce Smith, co-founder of the Grateful American Book Prize, says the teacher’s remarks underscore the purpose of the Prize, the first of which will be awarded to author Kathy Cannon Wiechman for her book, Like A River: A Civil War Novel, at a ceremony on October 22nd at President Lincoln’s Cottage in D.C.

Smith, an author and publisher, is also an education advocate with a special focus on the teaching of American history. “The award was the brainchild of the former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Dr. Bruce Cole. When he described his idea to me, I immediately surrounded myself with people who could help make it a reality.”

Cole, who has described the U.S. as “a country of historical amnesiacs,” and Smith have long shared a concern that history has taken a back seat to math and science in education, especially in early education. “Over the past several decades schools have gradually deemphasized history. The result is: now, many kids do not even know the basic facts such as who George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were,” Smith says.

The Prize was designed to stimulate authors and publishers to produce well-researched works of fiction and nonfiction that engage students in the events and personalities that have shaped American history, he says. “Teachers such as the one quoted on the Scholastic Web site are able to use such books to make history class less boring.”

Wiechman’s Like A River, which tells the story of a pair of teenage Union soldiers, was chosen as the winner because it is a compelling tale based on fact which leaves readers–especially young ones–with a sense of understanding about a major part of the past.

Two additional books will also be cited at the ceremony with Honorable Mention Certificates: Darlene Beck Jacobson’s novel, Wheels of Change, which confronts Washington DC’s racial turbulence during Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency, and Michaela MacColl’s, The Revelation of Louisa May, a deftly appealing combination of actual events and history culled from the life of Louisa May Alcott.

Lisa Cucciniello, a teacher and an author, is also a strong proponent of using historical novels and biographies as a supplemental tool of learning. “Students often have a difficult time connecting the past to the present. If a teacher cannot even get the events of the past across to the students, the connection with the present is impossible. One way to engage young adults is to have them read works of historical fiction.”

Teachers Engage Students in History with Historical Novels

October 2015 Book Recommendations

THE MIRACLE WORKER: A PLAY by William Gibson
The blind, deaf, and mute, Helen Keller is taught to communicate by her teacher, Annie Sullivan.

CURTAIN by Agatha Christie
Hercule Poirot’s last case.

BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley
The 1932 novel predicted individual loss of identity, and controversial methods of child birth.

MRS. IKE: MEMORIES AND REFLECTIONS ON THE LIFE OF MAMIE EISENHOWER by Susan Eisenhower
A biography of the First Lady by her granddaughter.

October 2015 Book Recommendations