The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded free copies of classic books to 2,000 public, school, and military libraries throughout the U.S. and overseas, including 88 locations in California.

In Del Rey, Orville Wright Middle School, a public school in the Los Angeles Unified School District, was one of the 88 California libraries.

Each library will receive 15 classic books on the theme of “Becoming American” from the We the People Bookshelf program, along with copies of three of the titles offered in Spanish.

As part of the award, libraries will hold programs or events to raise awareness of these classic books and engage young readers.

“The history of our nation overflows with vivid and compelling stories of immigrants drawn to our shores by the promises of freedom, justice, and opportunity,” said NEH chair Bruce Cole.

“The Endowment’s We the People Bookshelf enables younger readers to see how America’s immigrants have shaped our history and culture and to examine from many perspectives what it means to become an American.” .

Books on “Becoming American” include:

n Grades kindergarten to four: The Lotus Seed by Sherry Garland, Watch the Stars Come Out by Riki Levinson (also in Spanish), and Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say.

n Grades four to six: Immigrant Kids by Russell Freedman, The People Could Fly: The Picture Book by Virginia Hamilton, Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving (also in Spanish), and In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Betty Bao Lord.

n Grades seven and eight: Rifles for Wattie by Harold Keith, The Glory Field by Walter Dean Myers, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, and Dragonwings by Laurence Yep.

n Grades nine to 12: Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (also in Spanish), Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin edited by Louis P. Masur, Barrio Boy by Ernesto Galarza, and Giants in the Earth: A Saga of the Prairie by Ole Edvart Rolvaag.

Information, www.humanities.gov

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