We all bring a different set of experiences to a book, and those experiences shape how we react to what we read. The Books That Shaped America exhibition marks a starting point to spark a national conversation on books and their importance in Americans’ lives. This exhibition prefaced the September 2012 National Book Festival held on the National Mall September 22–23, 2012.
From Robert Frost's New England farms to John Steinbeck's California valley to Eudora Welty's Mississippi Delta, authors have described the American landscape to evoke a strong sense of place. They have peopled our land with memorable characters and woven into their works the regional traits of a dynamic culture. Using the metaphor of a journey, Language of the Land: Journey into Literary America examines the following literary heritage though maps, photographs, and the works of American authors from a variety of periods.
Timely and Timeless celebrates the development and growth of the comic art collections at the Library of Congress. The new acquisitions on display build on the established strengths of the Library's holdings in political and social satire, comic strips, and caricature. The breadth of the selection presented in this exhibition provides an opportunity to explore and experience the richness of cartoon art preserved at the Library for future generations.
The large, lavish drawings Jessie Willcox Smith produced as color plates for The Water-Babies in 1916 are among her most loved and admired works. She apparently thought highly of them as well because upon her death in 1935 she bequeathed all twelve to the Cabinet of American Illustration, a special collection of almost four thousand original drawings by the nation's most influential illustrators, preserved within the Prints and Photographs Division. Her works evoking the innocence of youth and demonstrating the artistry of illustrated books are among the Library's great graphic treasures.
These pictures, selected from among thousands of images in the Prints and Photographs Collections of the Library of Congress, capture the experience of childhood as it is connected across time, different cultures, and diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Whether encumbered by poverty or born into privilege, boys and girls look unflinchingly at the lens and toward the future. Their honest gazes reveal who these children are and how they view themselves and their world—with implications of the vast roads that lie ahead.
Since its publication in September 1900, L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has become America's greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale. The first totally American fantasy for children, it is one of the most-read children's books. It has also engendered a long series of sequels, stage plays and musicals, movies and television shows, biographies of Baum, scholarly studies of the significance of the book and film, advertisements, and toys, games, and other Oz-related products. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of this timeless American classic, the Library of Congress supplemented its unparalleled collections with costumes and other memorabilia borrowed from museums, other libraries, and private collectors.
Locating a novel, short story, or poem without knowing its title or author can be a frustrating and difficult endeavor. This guide is intended to help readers identify a literary work when they know only its plot, subject, or other secondary characteristics such as a character's name, an illustration, or snippets of remembered words and phrases.
The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature raises national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.
Find biographical information on links to webcasts of authors who have appeared on the Children's and Teens' stages at the National Book Festival.
- Note the link on the upper right to 'Authors from Previous Years" to select a year from 2001 to the present, to find even more webcasts!
This Library of Congress Student Discovery Set is here to put history into your hands. It brings together historical artifacts and one-of-a-kind documents from the collections of the Library of Congress. Interactive tools let you zoom in for close examination, draw to highlight interesting details, and make notes about what you discover. There’s no single right answer, only new discoveries to be made.
On February 7, 1867, Laura Elizabeth Ingalls, the author of the beloved semiautobiographical Little House series, was born in Wisconsin, the second daughter of Charles and Caroline Ingalls. The basic facts of her life correspond to those related in her books about her family’s experiences on the American frontier during the 1870s and 1880s.
On May 4, 1894, Bird Day was first observed at the initiative of Charles Almanzo Babcock, superintendent of schools in Oil City, Pennsylvania. By 1910, Bird Day was widely celebrated, often in conjunction with Arbor Day. Statewide observances of the two holidays inculcated conservation training and awareness in a broad spectrum of the public, especially school children.
Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (1804-1894), the educator who opened the first English-language kindergarten in the United States, was born on May 16, 1804, in Billerica, Massachusetts. Long before most educators, Peabody embraced the premise that children’s play has intrinsic developmental and educational value.
Journalist, short-story writer, and novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was born on August 8, 1896, in Washington, D.C. Rawlings is best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Yearling (1938), the story of young Jody Baxter’s coming of age in the big scrub country which is now the Ocala National Forest in Florida.
On September 1, 1773, Phillis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral was published in London, England. Wheatley’s collection was the first volume of poetry by an African-American poet to be published. Regarded as a prodigy by her contemporaries, Wheatley was approximately twenty at the time of the book’s publication.
Louisa May Alcott, the second daughter of Amos Bronson Alcott, teacher and transcendentalist philosopher, and Abigail May, social worker and reformer, was born in the “disagreeable month” of November, just like her literary creation Jo March, the rambunctious heroine of Little Women .