WASHINGTON, DC, NOV 19 — Teri Kanefield, who was recently awarded a 2018 Grateful American Book Prize “Honorable Mention” for her biography of Andrew Jackson, has an interesting interpretation about the Prize:
“Books about wizards and romance with vampires will always command a wide audience. Those books don’t need much help. A prize like this one helps teachers and parents identify the books that experts have determined are most likely to engage young readers and make them want to read more.”
Andrew Jackson is Book Two in Kanefield’s The Making of America series, published by Abrams Books for Young Readers. It traces the Constitutional history of the United States through overlapping biographies of American men and women. So far, the books are:
Alexander Hamilton (2017)
Andrew Jackson (2018)
Abraham Lincoln (2018)
Susan B. Anthony (March 2019)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Fall 2019)
Thurgood Marshall (Release date pending)
Kanefield, an appellate lawyer, said her study of the law provided her with the ability and discipline to do the kind of research that ensures accuracy in “drawing up” the lives of her subjects.
She acknowledges that she “was bored by middle school and high school civics classes. It wasn’t until I got to law school that I realized this stuff is interesting. I spent time casting around for a way to present American Constitutional history to young readers in a way that would make it engaging and interesting. I decided that biography humanizes the past and offers a way to get the attention of students.
“Without informed voters, Democracy will not work,” Kanefield says. “Being informed includes knowing the history—and—having a working knowledge of– our Constitution.”
According to David Bruce Smith, co-founder of the Grateful American Book Prize, judges will begin accepting entries for the 2019 Prize on January 1st. Historically accurate works for middle schoolers–fiction and nonfiction–published between July 1, 2018 and July 31, 2019 are eligible for submission. The winner will receive a cash award of $13,000—in honor of the 13 original colonies–and a medallion created especially for the Prize by American artist Clarice Smith. In addition, two authors will be selected to receive “Honorable Mentions”; they get $500 each, and the medallion.