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Congressman Higgins Announces Books for Public and School Libraries in Erie & Chautauqua Counties

Apr 3, 2009
Press Release

Today Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) announced an award of 17 classic books on the theme of “Picturing America” to 10 libraries in Erie and Chautauqua Counties, made possible through the National Endowment for the Humanities’(NEH) We the People Bookshelf program. 

“Libraries provide valuable, free access to a wealth of information,” said Congressman Higgins.  “This grant of books will expand the resources available at local libraries and provide readers with new opportunities to learn more about history and culture.”

The following libraries in Congressman Higgins’ district will receive the “Bookshelf Award:”

  • Ashville Free Library
  • Frederick Law Olmsted School #64 (Buffalo)
  • Dunkirk Elementary School #3
  • Falconer Middle/High School
  • Big Tree Elementary School Library
  • Hamburg Public Library
  • Southwestern Elementary School (Jamestown)
  • Panama High School Library
  • Panama Elementary School Library
  • Ripley Free Library

Each library will receive a set of the 17 books along with posters, bookmarks, and other promotional materials from NEH through the American Library Association (ALA), which is working in partnership with the Endowment. As part of the award, libraries are organizing programs or events to raise awareness of these classic books and engage young readers from May 1, 2009 through Apr. 30, 2010.

The Bookshelf program is part of the NEH’s We the People program, which supports projects that strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture. 

The Bookshelf features the following books:

Kindergarten to Grade 3: Walt Whitman: Words for America by Barbara Kerley; Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull; Cosechando esperanza: La historia de César Chávez by Kathleen Krull (translated by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy); The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Sweet Music in Harlem by Debbie Taylor.

Grades 4 to 6: The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich; American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborne; On the Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck; Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule by Harriette Gillem Robinet; The Captain’s Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe by Roland Smith.

Grades 7 to 8: The Life and Death of Crazy Horse by Russell Freedman; The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving; La leyenda de Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving (translated by Manuel Broncano); Across America on an Emigrant Train by Jim Murphy; The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.

Grades 9 to 12: Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis; Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange by Elizabeth Partridge; Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck; Viajes con Charley - en busca de América by John Steinbeck (translated by José Manuel Alvarez Flórez); Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville.

Bonus: Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out by The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance; 1776: The Illustrated Edition by David McCullough.

“Since 2003, the We the People Bookshelf has introduced young readers at more than 13,000 school and public libraries to great literature and has helped them explore themes central to America’s history,” said NEH Acting Chairman Carole M. Watson. “Through the Bookshelf, the Endowment aims to provide additional high-quality educational resources to our nation’s libraries. This year readers at 4,000 libraries will be able to gain insights into our nation’s story through the ‘Picturing America’ Bookshelf.”

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities.  NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge, and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, new technologies, museum exhibitions, and programs in libraries and other community places. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities, its grant programs, and the We the People Bookshelf is available on the Internet at