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February 26, 2006

"Victory or Death: Stories of the American Revolution" chosen as 2005 Beacon of Freedom Award winner

Colonial Williamsburg and the Williamsburg Area Regional Library announced the 2005 winner of the Beacon
of Freedom Award (BOFA). “Victory or Death:
Stories of the American Revolution” by Doreen
Rappaport and Joan Verniero is a collection of
eight non-fiction short stories that highlight
culturally diverse heroes of the American
Revolution. In their introduction, the authors
state, “We've tried to reflect the many cultures
in America during that time.”

The award was presented at a reception 4:30 p.m. Thursday, February 23 at WILLIAMSBURG® Booksellers, which is located in Colonial Williamsburg’s Visitor Center.

Francis Salvador, a Jew, risked his life to sign South Carolinians to the loyalty oath. James Armistead, an African American, spied on Benedict Arnold at the command of his friend, the Marquis de Lafayette. Sixteen-year-old Sybil Ludington rode 40 miles through dangerous territory to rally her father's militia company. The stories of Bunker Hill and George Washington crossing the Delaware include the support of African-American soldiers and a Quaker officer. Selections about Abigail Adams; Deborah Samson; and Grace Growden Galloway, a loyalist whose husband fought with the British, also are included.

BOFA is an annual children’s literature award that focuses on early American history up to 1865. Each year fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders from the City of Williamsburg, James City County and Bruton District of York County schools select their favorite book from six titles that are nominated by the BOFA committee.

“The Beacon of Freedom Award is always special because the children who read the books choose the winner,” said John Hornback, chairman of the committee and an inventory buyer for Colonial Williamsburg. “This program gives area students an opportunity to have fun reading about our country’s history and realize ‘that the future learns from the past’.”

Books submitted for consideration for the award have a history line between 1607 and 1865, and are in the following categories: Biography, Fiction, Non-Fiction and Illustrations/Picture Book. In addition to “Victory or Death,” the other candidates for the BOFA award were: “Don’t Know Much About the Pilgrims” and “Don’t Know Much About Abraham Lincoln,” both by Kenneth C. Davis; “Voyage of Patience Goodspeed” by Heather Vogel Frederick; “Revolutionary John Adams” by Cheryl Harness; and “George Washington's Teeth” by Deborah Chandra and Madeleine Comora.

Participating schools included: Rawls Byrd Elementary School, Norge Elementary School, Waller Mill Elementary School, Magruder Elementary School, Clara Byrd Baker Elementary School, Matthew Whaley, James River Elementary School, Stonehouse Elementary School, D.J. Montague Elementary School, Williamsburg Montessori School, Williamsburg Christian Academy, Walsingham Academy Lower School, Berkeley Middle School, Toano Middle School and James Blair Middle School.

Past BOFA winners have included: “The Captain’s Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe” by Roland Smith, 2002; “Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy” by Seymour Reit, 2003; and “Lottie’s Courage: A Contraband Slave’s
Story” by Phyllis Hall Haislip, 2004.

BOFA is a volunteer committee created by Colonial Williamsburg and the Williamsburg Regional Library. BOFA takes its name from comments made by Colonial Williamsburg benefactor John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1934 that the restored city would serve as “a beacon light of freedom” to the rest of the world. The BOFA mission is to establish a greater awareness of history through reading with a target audience of students from the local schools.

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121