2018 Grateful American Book Prize Winner Announced

WASHINGTON, DC, Sep 20 – The winner of the 2018 Grateful American Book Prize is L.M. Elliott, for her historical novel, Suspect Red, a look at McCarthyism and the Red Scare, published by Hyperion-Disney. She will also receive an Honorable Mention award for Hamilton and Peggy! A Revolutionary Friendship, published by HarperCollins and Katherine Tegen Books. It’s the first time an author will be given the Prize, and an Honorable Mention.

Author and publisher David Bruce Smith, who co-founded the Prize with the late Dr. Bruce Cole, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, calls Suspect Red “a historically accurate novel of suspense that will engage young readers in a complicated period of America’s history.”

The School Library Journal review of Hamilton and Peggy! A Revolutionary Friendship, noted “The story is drawn from extensive research on each of the characters, through their letters, magazines, newspapers, and personal diaries. Elliott has accomplished something wonderful here, and this is an absolute must-have for all middle and high school collections.”

2018 Grateful American Book Prize Winner Announced

Teri Kanefield, who will receive an “Honorable Mention” for her biography of Andrew Jackson, is the author of The Making of America series published by Harry N. Abrams. In addition to “Jackson,” she has written about Alexander Hamilton (2017), and Abraham Lincoln (2018). Her “Susan B. Anthony” and “Franklin Delano Roosevelt” will appear in 2019, and the publication date of “Thurgood Marshall” is pending.

The goal of the Grateful American Book Prize, as Ms. Elliott described it, is to “restore history as the captivating subject it is. History is, after all, a human drama, the story of how we got to where we are. Teachers are faced with the daunting task of covering centuries of events, leaders, political and cultural movements, wars, and statistics, on and on. Historical or biographical fiction, if done well, immerses its reader in a time period and brings a beating heart to those ‘dry’ facts. It offers something for which students hunger—humanizing the history they must memorize for tests by telling it through the eyes of an ‘everyman’—a character who must navigate national situations and experiences fears, longing, and moments of revelation, a person with whom readers empathize and turn each page concerned about what happens next. Engaged in a compelling, well-researched story, teens learn so much about a time period and its challenges by osmosis. They’re just enjoying a good story–even if it’s about frightening, complex times, with large lessons, as is Suspect Red.

“This Prize is a gift to all of us taking on the responsibility (and the joy!) of writing historical pieces for young people. I am very lucky to have wonderful editors who believe in historical narratives and are willing to take on the extra work they require. Others in the publishing industry need convincing that such novels have just as much interest-value and potential audience as more pop-culture genres–this Prize does so much to promote that! So I know I speak for all historical novelists when I say we are GRATEFUL!”

The Grateful American Book Prize comes with an award of $13,000, a lifetime pass to the New-York Historical Society, and a medallion created by the American artist, Clarice Smith. The October 11th presentation will be at The Society of the Cincinnati in Washington, D.C. The “Honorable Mention” authors receive the medallion, and $500 each.

 

2018 Grateful American Book Prize Winner Announced

L.M. Elliott to receive the 2018 Grateful American Book Prize for Suspect Red and an Honorable Mention for Hamilton and Peggy!

WASHINGTON, DC, Sep 20 – The winner of the 2018 Grateful American Book Prize is L.M. Elliott, for her historical novel, Suspect Red, a look at McCarthyism and the Red Scare, published by Hyperion-Disney. She will also receive an Honorable Mention award for Hamilton and Peggy! A Revolutionary Friendship, published by HarperCollins and Katherine Tegen Books. It’s the first time an author will be given the Prize, and an Honorable Mention.

Author and publisher David Bruce Smith, who co-founded the Prize with the late Dr. Bruce Cole, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, calls Suspect Red “a historically accurate novel of suspense that will engage young readers in a complicated period of America’s history.”

The School Library Journal review of Hamilton and Peggy! A Revolutionary Friendship, noted “The story is drawn from extensive research on each of the characters, through their letters, magazines, newspapers, and personal diaries. Elliott has accomplished something wonderful here, and this is an absolute must-have for all middle and high school collections.”

Teri Kanefield, who will receive an “Honorable Mention” for her biography of Andrew Jackson, is a prolific contributor to “The Making of America” series published by Harry N. Abrams. In addition to “Jackson”, she has written about Alexander Hamilton (2017), and Abraham Lincoln (2018). Her “Susan B. Anthony” and “Franklin Delano Roosevelt” will appear in 2019, and the publication date of “Thurgood Marshall” is pending.

L.M. Elliott to receive the 2018 Grateful American Book Prize  for Suspect Red and an Honorable Mention for Hamilton and Peggy!

The goal of the Grateful American Book Prize, as Ms. Elliott described it, is to “restore history as the captivating subject it is. History is, after all, a human drama, the story of how we got to where we are. Teachers are faced with the daunting task of covering centuries of events, leaders, political and cultural movements, wars, and statistics, on and on. Historical or biographical fiction, if done well, immerses its reader in a time period and brings a beating heart to those ‘dry’ facts.  It offers something for which students hunger—humanizing the history they must memorize for tests by telling it through the eyes of an ‘everyman’—a character who must navigate national situations and experiences fears, longing, and moments of revelation, a person with whom readers empathize and turn each page concerned about what happens next. Engaged in a compelling, well-researched story, teens learn so much about a time period and its challenges by osmosis. They’re just enjoying a good story–even if it’s about frightening, complex times, with large lessons, as is Suspect Red.

“This Prize is a gift to all of us taking on the responsibility (and the joy!) of writing historical pieces for young people.  I am very lucky to have wonderful editors who believe in historical narratives and are willing to take on the extra work they require. Others in the publishing industry need convincing that such novels have just as much interest-value and potential audience as more pop-culture genres–this Prize does so much to promote that!  So I know I speak for all historical novelists when I say we are GRATEFUL!”

The Grateful American Book Prize comes with an award of $13,000, a lifetime pass to the New-York Historical Society, and a medallion created by the American artist, Clarice Smith. The October 11th presentation will be at The Society of the Cincinnati in Washington, D.C. The “Honorable Mention” authors receive the medallion, and $500 each.

Patriotic Picks: September 2018

The Grateful American Foundation has inaugurated a partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American Foundation:

  • O Pioneers! by Willa Cather. An immigrant family struggles on (and with) the Nebraska prairie in this first installment of the author’s “Great Plains” trilogy.
  • Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. This classic tale of an obsessed Captain Ahab seeking vengeance on an elusive white whale is as American as, well, obsession and revenge.
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell. A political allegory about tyranny, revolt, and the seductive — and often devastating — allure of power.

Patriotic Picks: September 2018

Patriotic Picks: September 2018

Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here are three such titles, suggested by David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American Foundation:

  • O Pioneers! by Willa Cather. An immigrant family struggles on (and with) the Nebraska prairie in this first installment of the author’s “Great Plains” trilogy.
  • Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. This classic tale of an obsessed Captain Ahab seeking vengeance on an elusive white whale is as American as, well, obsession and revenge.
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell. A political allegory about tyranny, revolt, and the seductive — and often devastating — allure of power.

More >

Constitution Day is an opportunity to reflect on America’s achievements and the opportunities it provides for its citizens

WASHINGTON, DC, Sep 12 – The nation celebrates Constitution Day on September 17—the day in 1787 that our Constitution was signed in Philadelphia. And, David Bruce Smith, co-founder of the Grateful American Book Prize, says it is particularly important that we continue to remind our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren about what the Constitution is all about.

“Why? Because several recent polls indicate that younger Americans are beginning to think the unthinkable: that they’d be better off under a socialist government. This is not a political issue; it’s an example of the lack of knowledge and understanding of how and why our nation was founded—and has evolved—since the Constitution was signed, 231 years ago,” according to Smith.

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, which was created by an Act of Congress in 1993, conducted one poll. It showed that millennials – the generation born between the early ‘80s and the middle ‘90s – would prefer to live in a socialist, communist or fascist nation.

But, it’s interesting to note that the Foundation’s survey also asked respondents to define socialism and/or communism, and they couldn’t.

Smith says the data seems to support “why the late Dr. Bruce Cole and I established the Grateful American Book Prize. The idea was to show just how exciting the subject could be for kids.”

Smith believes offering the Award encourages authors and their publishers to focus on historically accurate fiction and nonfiction for adolescents.

But, he says, it’s not just the kids who are poorly informed; adults are shockingly uninformed, as well. He cites a survey conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center that reveals nearly two-thirds of Americans–in general– cannot name even one of the rights guaranteed to us by the First Amendment. And, nearly 75% could not identify the three branches of government.

In 1940 “I am an American Day” was established by Congress– to be observed, annually, on the third Sunday in May. In the meantime, a patriotic Ohioan named Olga T. Weber, was advancing her own notions about how best to disseminate the word about what it means to be an American. By 1952 she was in the midst of a crusade to set aside a day to honor the country’s heritage. The following year, she convinced Congress and President Dwight D. Eisenhower to establish September 17th –every year–as Citizenship Day.

Later, another patriot, Louise Leigh-–already immersed in the study of the U.S. Constitution—founded a 1997 non-profit organization called Constitution Day Inc. Her aim was to shift the focus from Citizenship Day to the U.S. Constitution. In a 2005 Education World interview she explained her purpose:

“I became acutely aware of the uniqueness, the greatness, and the miracle of our Constitution. Until the 1800s, every American child could recite all the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution, which is not done today. We celebrate Independence Day on July 4 with gusto. The Revolutionary War gave us independence from England, but the Constitution is the document that gave us freedom, which has made us the greatest and mightiest nation in history,” Ms. Leigh said.

Smith believes that making progress as a nation requires Americans to understand and protect the legacy of our Founding Fathers who formulated the document. “In other words, we need to understand our heritage if we are to ensure the future. But, you can’t appreciate what you don’t know. So, it might be a good idea to celebrate Constitution Day this year—differently, by inspiring all of the kids in your family with good books about the founding of our nation, and the events and people that got us where we are.”

Movie of the Month: Yours, Mine and Ours

A widowed mother of eight, and a widowed military officer with ten children, marry and then add two of their own. Based on Helen Beardsley’s book, Who Gets The Drumstick; stars Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda, and Van Johnson.

 

Movie of the Month: Yours, Mine and Ours

A widowed mother of eight, and a widowed military officer with ten children, marry and then add two of their own. Based on Helen Beardsley’s book, “Who Gets The Drumstick”, the movie stars Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda, and Van Johnson.

 

Give Kids What They Need: Teaching The Past With Passion

by Dr. Peter S. Carmichael, Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies & Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College

We need more initiatives that will encourage young people to learn and understand the past for the future of democracy in this nation. Alarming statistics show we are a nation of “amnesiacs” when it comes to American history. Without knowledge of the past, among kids as well as well as adults, the ideal of good citizenship will be unattainable

It is encouraging that, as Education Week reported recently, “Civics has experienced something of a renaissance, with more than a dozen states now requiring students to take the U.S. citizenship test in high school.” But as promising as that development suggests, it doesn’t go far enough. Memorizing dates and names doesn’t necessary encourage young learners to explore the country’s founding and the ideas and aspirations of those men who launched our nation. Their belief that legitimate governments must have the consent of the governed and that the people in return should behave as responsible citizenry is a contract that will crumble if we fail to inspire young people about the American past. I don’t believe that young minds are closed off to the study of the past.”

Every summer at the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, approximately 300 Civil War enthusiasts attend a week-long conference that I oversee. And every year we award scholarships to high school students for an immersive experience in the study of the Civil War. They attend lectures, visit historical sites, and participate in an interactive experience in which the kids act out roles related to the New York City draft Riots of 1863. Throughout the week they are also active learners. In fact, we let them become their own historians, giving opportunities to read and debate original sources with top scholars in the field. The CWI approach is hardly unique as teachers and museum interpreters use similar pedagogical styles.

This positive trend is at risk of flat lining as long as public education is beholden to standardized testing. In classrooms across the country history is marginalized because it doesn’t apply to the test. At a time when teachers at all levels are showing great creativity in opening up the past in the classroom, their efforts are blunted by an assessment machine. From the many teacher conferences I have led over the last 15 years, I have heard repeatedly that the tests churn out students who often lack fundamental knowledge about the past, and the analytical skills, which are so critical to foster responsible citizens as adults.

The late Dr. Bruce Cole, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, saw the same deficiency in America’s elementary and middle schools. It was Dr. Cole who once described the U.S. as “a country of historical amnesiacs” but his blunt, accurate assessment should not prevent us from finding hope in the future.

The promotion of the past must begin early and it must inspire young learners, imaginatively, or they will not become engaged. David Bruce Smith, noted for advancing the “cause” of history inside and outside the classroom, co-founded, with the late Dr. Cole, the Grateful American Book Prize, which the Smithsonian Web site described as an “interactive educational series [that] aims to restore a passion for history in kids and adults.”

At David’s invitation, I helped him implement the Prize in 2015; it has since become one of the most influential forces in out-of-the-classroom history education. The Prize encourages authors and their publishers to produce engaging, historically accurate works of fiction and nonfiction for young learners. Such books capture the imaginations of youngsters in a way that textbooks can’t. They tell absorbing, engrossing, adventurous tales that kids won’t soon forget. Most important, they are true stories that provide insight into the events and personalities that have shaped our nation.

Dr. Carmichael is a member of the Panel of Judges for the Grateful American Book Prize and a member of the history department at Gettysburg College

The Kent County Arts Council presents: MIGRATION: An Exploration in Art, Words and Music, Inspired by Jacob Lawrence

The Kent County Arts Council presents:
MIGRATION: An Exploration in Art, Words and Music, Inspired by Jacob Lawrence

In 2016 The Phillips Collection in Washington DC commissioned Playwright and Producing Artistic Director Jacqueline E. Lawton, Assistant Professor of Theater, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, to create an evening of short plays based on the Great Migration series painted by famed African American painter, Jacob Lawrence. These plays will be presented together as Act one of a Two-Act evening that also includes Kent County’s own RED DEVIL MOON, Thursday – Sunday, November 1 – 4, 2018 at the Garfield Center for the Arts. Tickets are just $10 each, and free for all 18 years old or younger.

In 1941, the 26 year old Jacob Lawrence completed the 60 panels that make up The Migration Series. This fall, the Kent County Arts Council offers a unique glimpse into these works and the Great Migration with a multifaceted, multimedia presentation with arts, words and music.

ART

We will host 40 Kent County High School Art students on a trip to The Philips Collection in Washington DC for a tour of the museum, an intensive on Lawrence’s work, and to inspire the students’ own work on the subject, which will hang in the Chestertown RiverArts Gallery from October 31 through November 11 as part of the project. All five KCPS visual arts teachers will participate in this trip.

RiverArts will be open regular hours, plus one hour before curtain at the Garfield an all four performance days.

WORDS

On November 1-4, 2018 we will present a two-act evening of theater at the Garfield Center for the Arts. For Act 1, five excellent playwrights have created five powerful short plays which originally premiered at The Phillips Collection in the fall of 2016. It is our pleasure to showcase these works, and to welcome all five playwrights for a Sunday, November 4, 2018 talk-back and reception following the 3 p.m. performance. Thursday – Saturday, Nov 1-3, at 7 pm and Sunday, Nov 4, at 3 pm. The five plays are:

IN CONSTANT PURSUIT by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm

 

 

 

The Kent County Arts Council presents:  MIGRATION: An Exploration in Art, Words and Music, Inspired by Jacob Lawrence#51 by Laura Shamas

 

 

 

 

The Kent County Arts Council presents:  MIGRATION: An Exploration in Art, Words and Music, Inspired by Jacob LawrenceA LEGACY OF CHAINS by Annalisa Dias

 

 

 

 

The Kent County Arts Council presents:  MIGRATION: An Exploration in Art, Words and Music, Inspired by Jacob LawrenceA LONG ARDUOUS JOURNEY by Jacqueline E. Lawton

 

 

 

 

 

The Kent County Arts Council presents:  MIGRATION: An Exploration in Art, Words and Music, Inspired by Jacob LawrenceBAGHDAD CARPET by Norman Allen

 

 

The plays will be produced by Guest Artistic Director Jacqueline E. Lawton, and will be directed by Michele Volansky, Chair, Department of Theater and Dance, Washington College.

MUSIC

Act Two will be a revival of Kent County’s own RED DEVIL MOON written by Robert Earl Price and Pam Ortiz and featuring Sombarkin and The Pam Ortiz Band. RED DEVIL MOON is a Migration story, based on Harlem Renaissance writer, Jean Toomer’s novel CANE.

Finally, as part of this project, we will present just RED DEVIL MOON on Thursday, October 25 at 11 a.m. with The Garfield Center for the Arts as part of their ongoing educational outreach series. The theater will be reserved for students from schools across our region that day.

For more info or tickets call 410-778-3700.

The Kent County Arts Council presents:  MIGRATION: An Exploration in Art, Words and Music, Inspired by Jacob Lawrence