Sunny View Elementary School Library was one of 4,000 libraries across the country selected in 2009 by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA) to receive free hardcover editions of 17 classic books as part of the We the PeopleBookshelf grant program. The theme of the Bookshelf was “Picturing America.” 


We received the following free books:

  • Kindergarten to Grade 3: “Walt Whitman: Words for America” by Barbara Kerley; “Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez” by Kathleen Krull; “Cosechando esperenza: La historia de César Chávaz” 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 leyanda de Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving (translated by Manual 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 Literary Alliance; “1776: The Illustrated Edition” by David McCullough


The award was part of the NEH’s We the People initiative, which supports projects that strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture. Selected public and school libraries in all 50 states each received a set of the 22 books (including Spanish translations of three of the titles and two bonus titles), posters, bookmarks, bookplates from the NEH and the ALA, and access to online planning and promotional materials. 

Sunny View students received special prizes as incentives for reading the grant books. They also wrote book reviews that were placed around the library as “mini-posters” to encourage others to read the books.  The school library happily welcomed these additions to its Social Studies collection.