Washington, DC - The 2017 Grateful American Book Prize will be officially awarded tonight to author Margot Lee Shetterly for her non-fiction book, Hidden Figures, at a ceremony to be held at The National Archives.
David Bruce Smith, co-founder of the Prize, who will make the presentation, said "Hidden Figures is an outstanding work. It chronicles the lives of NASA's so-called 'human computers,'-- African-American women mathematicians who were hired in the 1950s by the space agency's Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Virginia. They overcame great odds and proved to be indispensable. Using primitive tools by today's standards - pencils and adding machines-they calculated the trajectories that would successfully launch America's first astronauts into outer space."
Ms. Shetterly's book was published in November of 2016 by HarperCollins; the Academy Award nominated film version-also released last year--starred Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe, Octavia Spencer and Kevin Costner. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards.
"It's a highly acclaimed story that engages young learners, giving them an opportunity to learn more about a very important piece of American history. It is the essence of what the Prize is all about-increasing the curiosity of our country's future voters and leaders about the past, so that they can become better citizens in the future," according to Smith.
Jennifer Latham's Dreamland Burning, a work of historical fiction-- also about racial injustice-and Edward Cody Huddleston's The Story of John Quincy Adams 250 Years After His Birth, were selected to receive the Prize's Honorable Mention Awards for 2017.
Dreamland Burning, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, with its focus on the Tulsa race riot of 1921, raises important questions about the complex state of US race relations - yesterday and today, according to one reviewer.
The Story of John Quincy Adams, produced by the Atlantic Publishing Group, examines the life of the sixth president of the United States, whose father, John Adams, was America's second American president. "This biography is likely to have a special appeal to young readers; despite his burdensome self-doubt, Adams was a constant achiever," according to Smith.
The Prize, carries an award of $13,000, and a medallion created by American artist, Clarice Smith. Recipients of this year's Honorable Mentions will also receive the medallion, and $500 each.
The judges for the 2017 Prize were co-founders Smith and Dr. Bruce Cole, author, historian and former Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities as well Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO, New-York Historical Society, Dr. Peter S. Carmichael, the Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies & Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, Dr. Douglas Bradburn, author, historian and Founding Director of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon, John Danielson, founder of Chartwell Education Group and former Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Education and Neme Alperstein, Teacher of Gifted and Talented Students in the New York City Public School system since 1987.