April 17, 2015, Washington DC — A new, one-of-a-kind book award, The Grateful American™ Book Prize, has been established to honor children’s books of fiction and nonfiction that feature the events and the people that shaped the history of the United States.
“Of the more than five dozen literary awards for children’s books in the United States, the Grateful American™ Book Prize is the only one awarded for excellence in writing, storytelling, and illustration in the category of historically accurate works for children. Our aim is to restore the role of history in the education of America’s children at a time when the focus in the classroom is on math and science,” according to author and publisher David Bruce Smith who co-founded the Prize.
The Prize consists of a $13,000 cash award in commemoration of the 13 original Colonies. It is believed to be among the highest cash awards among book prizes in general. In addition, the winner will receive a not-yet-revealed work to be created by Smith’s mother, the renowned artist Clarice Smith.
Smith said that it was Dr. Bruce Cole, the former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, who inspired the award. Knowledge of our history among young people is essential for them to function as good citizens. Cole and Smith believe that well-written, well-produced story books can engage youngsters between the ages of 9 and 14, and stimulate a lifelong interest in the history of their country.
“The Prize is designed to help tap the innate desire in each of us to know about our past. Children, in particular, are curious and interested in how they got here and what it means to be an American. But often their textbooks fail to catch their attention and they can become bored and uninterested. But, give them a good read—a book they can understand and to which they can relate – and it stirs their interest and a craving for details and context.”
Smith said that a distinguished coterie of judges has been assembled to oversee the Prize initiative. In addition to Cole and Smith, the panel includes: Dr. Rod Paige, former US Secretary of Education, Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO, New-York Historical Society, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author, Nick Kotz, 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 US Department of Education.
Smith said the panel is ready to begin reviewing author/publisher submissions for the Prize immediately. Forms can be downloaded from the Great American™ Book Prize web site. Deadline for Submission is August 31, 2015. In addition, a broad-based outreach to publishers of children’s books will be under way in the coming days. They’ll be receiving submission packages directly.