May 24, 2010

Steve Seinkein, the 2009 winner of the Beacon of Freedom Award, with his award-winning book Two Miserable Presidents. The book is about Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis and the kids who chose the winner loved the humor and compelling stories about the Civil War. The kids learned lots of things that never appear in textbooks, but brought history alive for them. Check out Steve Sheinkein’s books.

January 15, 2010

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Children from Williamsburg/James City County elementary and middle schools met January 13, 2010 at the Williamsburg Regional Library where they chose the winner of the eighth annual Beacon of Freedom award.
The 2010 Beacon of Freedom Award winner is Two Miserable Presidents by Steve Sheinkin. Students read five books relating to American history from 1607 to 1865, choose representatives from their schools who met to decide the winner.
Shown in the picture are Rawls Byrd media specialist Viky Pedigo and Abubakar Alawy, the student chosen to represent Rawls Byrd Elementary School.
The Beacon of Freedom Award is supported by a generous grant from the Disabled American Veterans.

October 18, 2009

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Avi is one of kids’ favorite authors. He has written 70 books and won many awards including the prestigious Newbery Medal. He came to Williamsburg this weekend to receive the Beacon of Freedom Award for his novel Iron Thunder.

The Beacon of Freedom Award is a child-chosen award supported by a generous donation from the Disabled American Veterans. Local kids read five or six books chosen by a committee and vote on their favorite. So kids, if you haven’t read Avi, please make it a priority to do so. You can visit his website at:

Friday evening at the award presentation, Avi spoke at the Williamsburg Regional Library. He had valuable things to share with kids and other writers.

As a student, Avi was a lousy writer. Kids, there is hope for you even if you find writing challenging.

Avi stressed that each of his books goes through as many as 60 or 70 revisions. He explained that if you see something that looks easy, for example like someone playing tennis well, it is the result of lots of hard work. It is the same with writing.

A student asked Avi what was the favorite book he had written. He replied that is is always the book he is working on. He has to believe that it is his best work. There is a lesson here for us all. You must believe in what you write and strive to make it your best work.

Being able to go to dinner with Avi was very special. Not only is he a good writer, but I found him to be lively and likable, humble and humorous, knowledgeable and kind.

I was delighted to learn that he, like yours truly, can’t spell and relies on spell check.

May 11, 2007

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Gail Karwoski’s book Miracle: The True Story of the Wreck of the Sea Venture won this year’s Beacon of Freedom Award. She visited Colonial Williamsburg where she received the award. Local children read six historical books (selected for excellence by the BOFA committee) and chose their favorite.

Rawls Byrd Elementary School student, Barrett Terrell presented the award. He is shown here with the author and Rawls Byrd Media Specialist Viky Pedigo.

The author received a warm welcome from local readers. These kids from Walsingham Academy even made a sign.

Gail Karwoski signed books and talked to readers.

Congralutations Gail!

To learn more about the winning book:

February 25, 2006

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The Beacon of Freedom Award is a reader-chosen award. A committee from Colonial Williamsburg and the Williamsburg Regional Library select six books on American history from the period 1607 to 1865. Kids in local schools read the books and choose their favorite. The program is supported by a generous contribution from the Disabled American Veterans.

A bagpiper begins this year’s ceremony.

As last year’s receipient of the Beacon of Freedom Award for Lottie’s Courage, I was asked to say a few words at this year’s award ceremony.

It was great seeing old friends and making new friends.

Congratulations to Doreen Rappaport and Joan Verniero and Illustrator Greg Call for this year’s winner, Victory or Death! Stories from the American Revolution.

February 25, 2005

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Yesterday, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and The Williamsburg Regional Library honored my first historical novel for kids, Lottie’s Courage, with the Beacon of Freedom Award for 2004.

The award is very special since kids voted for the winner. I was delighted that they liked Lottie enough to choose her story as this year’s winner.

The Beacon of Freedom Award is the greatest honor I have ever received,and I will cherish it, and the children who voted for Lottie’s Courage, always.