A few weeks ago I received some news that it’s been just killing me not to share with you.
It was finally made public this past weekend at the Texas Book Festival, and I’m exhilarated to at last be able to tell you that…
…The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch has been named to the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List for 2016-17!
This means that readers in grades 3-6 at schools and libraries all over the state of Texas will be considering my collaboration with Don Tate along with 19 other titles as they prepare to pick their favorite in January 2017.
A lot of work goes into creating state lists such as the Bluebonnet and into coordinating the voting by students. The librarians responsible for this and similar programs provide a vital service in connecting young readers with a host of great books that they might not otherwise encounter. I’m always thankful for the work that these folks do — but, admittedly, this year I appreciate it even more than usual!
Our publisher, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, asked me to share my thoughts about this particular book getting this particular honor. I hope you’ll read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt:
I’m especially happy to know that because of the inclusion of The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch on the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List, elementary school students throughout this state will receive a basic, honest introduction to Reconstruction. Texas children have not been consistently well-served by their textbooks â€” witness the recent title that referred to slavery as “immigration” and to enslaved human beings as “workers” â€” and there is a role for books such as ours in furthering their education.
There has long been a big hole in our country’s collective understanding of why a March on Washington was necessary 100 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, and why a Voting Rights Act was necessary a century after the end of the Civil War. The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch helps fill that hole with a true account of the progress in civil rights and social justice that occurred during Reconstruction, as well as the violence and terrorism and indifference than turned back that progress.