WASHINGTON, DC – The Grateful American Book Prize was established—in part—to incite a shift in the way students learn history, and the notion seems to be catching on, says David Bruce Smith, an author, publisher and co-founder of the Prize.
“If we, as a nation, lose our passion for the past we will ultimately lose our passion for who we are and what we are capable of doing with our lives. The study of history teaches us how to become better citizens,” he says.
Inspiration for the new award which made its debut last year, came from co-founder Dr. Bruce Cole, the former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, who has described the U.S. as “a country of historical amnesiacs.”
Cole cites surveys and statistics which reveal how little America’s school children know about the fundamentals of U.S. history. Many don’t know the roles George Washington, Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Jefferson played in the founding of America, he notes.
The Prize is awarded for historically accurate children’s books of fiction and nonfiction. It is designed to encourage established—and new–authors to produce good, readable books about American history. And, says Smith, “our efforts seem to be paying off. We’ve noticed that authors and publishers are turning out more historical fiction and nonfiction for young readers.”
The 2016 Grateful American Book Prize was awarded last month to Chris Stevenson, a first time novelist, for his book about the War of Independence, The Drum of Destiny. In 2015, the first year the Prize was awarded, the winner was Kathy Cannon Wiechman for her Like a River: A Civil War Novel.
“It is interesting to note that both were the authors’ first works to be published, and each is now working on new books for young learners that will engage them.” says Smith.
The Prize comes with a cash award of $13,000 representing the original 13 colonies. In addition, winners receive a medal created for the occasion by Mr. Smith’s mother, the noted artist, Clarice Smith.
The Grateful American Book Prize will begin accepting qualifying submissions, books published between July 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017, on January 1 for its 2017 competition.