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June 10, 2008

"Virginia Bound" wins 2007 Beacon of Freedom Award

“Virginia Bound” by Amy Butler received the 2007 Beacon of Freedom Award (BOFA) from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and the Williamsburg Regional Library. The adventure book was published by Clarion Books, a division of Houghton Mifflin Books, New York, N.Y., in 2003.

“Virginia Bound” tells the story of 13-year-old orphaned beggar Rob Brackett who is kidnapped from the streets of London, taken to the New World and forced to work for a cruel tobacco farmer master, who also owns a Pamunkey Indian girl named Mattoume.

“What makes the award particularly special to me is that it was chosen by young readers—and not just any young readers, but those who live in the part of the country where the book is set,” said Butler. “My warmest thanks go out to all the students who participated in this year’s contest, as well as all the teachers and librarians who helped them. I am also grateful to Colonial Williamsburg and the Williamsburg Regional Library for sponsoring the contest.”

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 the Bruton District of York County schools select their favorite book from six titles that are nominated by the BOFA committee.

Books submitted for consideration for the award must depict a history between 1607 and 1865, and are in the following categories: Biography, Fiction, Non-Fiction and Illustrations/Picture Book.

Participating schools included: D.J. Montague Elementary School; James Blair Middle School; James River Elementary School; Magruder Elementary School; Matthew Whaley; Norge Elementary School; Rawls Byrd Elementary School; Waller Mill Elementary School; Walsingham Academy Lower School; and Williamsburg Montessori 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; “Lottie’s Courage: A Contraband Slave’s Story” by Phyllis Hall Haislip, 2004; “Victory or Death: Stories of the American Revolution” by Doreen Rappaport and Joan Verniero, 2005; and “Miracle: The True Story of the Wreck of the Sea Venture” by Gail Karwoski, 2006.

The BOFA Committee is a group 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” for education and research. The BOFA mission is to establish a greater awareness of history through reading with a target audience of students from local schools.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture — stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic tradespeople research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. “Revolutionary City®” - a daily dramatic live street theater presentation - is a 2008 Rand McNally Best-of-the-Road™ Editor’s Pick. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121