print-only banner
The White House Skip Main Navigation
In Focus
News by Date
Federal Facts
West Wing

 Home > News & Policies > March 2005

For Immediate Release
Office of Mrs. Cheney
March 1, 2005

Lynne Cheney Announces 2005 James Madison Book Award

Application deadline May 1 for $10,000 annual prize
for best American history book for children five to fourteen

The James Madison Book Award selection committee is now accepting book recommendations for the 2005 award. The annual award is presented to the book that, in Mrs. Cheney's words, "best represents excellence in bringing knowledge and understanding of American history to the next generation." The third annual award, a cash prize of $10,000, will be announced at an award ceremony in early July 2005.

Beginning with the current award cycle, only nonfiction books are eligible. Books must be published in 2004 and written for children in elementary and middle school. The deadline for recommending a book is May 1, 2005. Book publishers and members of the James Madison Book Award Advisory Council are eligible to recommend candidates for the award.

In September 2002, President Bush announced his We the People initiative to encourage the teaching and appreciation of American history. In the spirit of the President's charge that "to properly understand and love our country, we must know our country's history," Mrs. Cheney established the James Madison Book Award in April 2003. "We look forward to receiving many outstanding entries that teach American history to children and young people," Mrs. Cheney said. "I hope that the James Madison Book Award will continue to encourage the very best authors to take up history, and publishers to seek out writers who can make America's story come alive."

To underwrite the annual award, Mrs. Cheney donated $100,000 to form the James Madison Book Award Fund, a separate fund of the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, a Wyoming 501(c)(3) public foundation. Her donation represents a portion of the profits from her own children's books, America: A Patriotic Primer and A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women. All of the net proceeds from Mrs. Cheney's children's books go to charity.

In July, the James Madison Book Award selection committee will name the winner as well as "Honor Books," exceptional entries recognized with a silver James Madison Book Award seal. Mrs. Cheney presented the 2004 James Madison Book Award to author Jim Murphy for An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 (Clarion Books, 2003) at the Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia.

The award winner is chosen each year by a committee drawn from the James Madison Book Award Advisory Council. The Council, chaired by Mrs. Cheney, is composed of more than thirty members, including television producer Ken Burns, historians David McCullough and Michael Beschloss, Children's Television Workshop founder Joan Ganz Cooney, commentator Peggy Noonan, journalist Hugh Sidey, and educator E. D. Hirsch.

For more information about the James Madison Book Award Fund, please visit