History and Authors
Lynne Cheney shares ideas from her book "A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women" with more than 80 third grade students from Ashurst Elementary School and Russell Elementary School on Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Va., Oct. 23, 2003. This is the second children's book authored by Mrs. Cheney designed to educate children about American History. Mrs. Cheney's proceeds from the book will be donated to charity. White House photo by David Bohrer.
"If there were one aspect of schooling from kindergarten through college to which I would give added emphasis today it would be American history." Lynne Cheney
Lynne Cheney has loved history for as long as she can remember, and she has spent much of her professional life writing and speaking about the importance of knowing American history and teaching it well.
Currently, as a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, she particularly emphasizes the value of knowing our nation's history. "One of the important lessons we can learn is that freedom isn't inevitable," she says. "This realization should make the liberty we enjoy all the more important to us, all the more worth defending."
Mrs. Cheney has a special interest in helping children learn about American history. To that end, she has recently written three books of American history for children. The first, America: A Patriotic Primer, released in May 2002, is an alphabet book for children of all ages and their families that celebrates the ideas and ideals that are the foundations of our country. The second, A Is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women, published September 2003, tells the story of women's contributions to American history. Her third, When Washington Crossed the Delaware: A Wintertime Story for Young Patriots, released in October 2004, is a straightforward yet elegant retelling of the dramatic military campaign that began on Christmas night, 1776.
To encourage other authors to take up writing about American history for children, and in the spirit of the Presidents We the People Initiative, Mrs. Cheney created the James Madison Book Award with the proceeds from her childrens books.
In addition to the books and articles Mrs. Cheney has published about American history, as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1986 to 1993, she published American Memory, a report that warned about the failure of schools to transmit knowledge of the past to upcoming generations.