The Junior Scholastic Gold Seal Award was given by Junior Scholastic Magazine to those juvenile books “that are considered to be an enriching experience in the lives of young Americans.”
The first Gold Seal Awards were given in 1942.
1942 Paul Bunyan, by Esther Shephard, illustrated by Rockwell Kent. (Harcourt) Subtitled “Twenty-one Tales of the Legendary Logger,” these stories are written in dialect, which charmed some Amazon reviewers and annoyed others. You can take a look at the 1985 reprint edition at Amazon and see which group you’re in. I thought it looked like a winner.
Indian Captive, by Lois Lenski. (Stokes) I’ve read Indian Captive (a long time ago), and I have it in my library. It’s one of a number of popular “Indian captive” stories that were popular back in the day, but would probably be politically incorrect these days. However, I think “politically incorrect” is just another way of saying “ripe for discussion”, so I’d recommend it.
Citadel of a Hundred Stairways, by Alida Sims Malkus. (Winston) A Peruvian boy and an American boy spend a summer together in the Andes Mountains, exploring the ruins of Macchu Picchu. It sounds good, and I think I’ve read other books by Ms. Malkus.
The Mayos: Pioneers in Medicine, by Adolph Regli. (Messner)
Shooting Star: THe Story of Tecumseh, by William E. Wilson. (Farrar & Rinehart) I don’t know if this biography is any good or not, but someone wants $149.00 for a first edition copy of it on Amazon.
I Have Just Begun to Fight: The Story of John Paul Jones, by Edward Ellsberg. (Dodd)
Adam of the Road, by Elizabeth Janet Gray. (Viking) Newbery Award winner. I thought this story was great, but the pacing is a little slow for readers who are movie and TV-bred.
Goethals of the Panama Canal, by Howard Fast (Messner) Mr. Fast seems to have been a fascinating man. Via Wikipedia:
Fast spent World War II working with the United States Office of War Information, writing for Voice of America. In 1943, he joined the Communist Party USA and in 1950 he was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities; in his testimony, he refused to disclose the names of contributors to a fund for a home for orphans of American veterans of the Spanish Civil War (one of the contributors was Eleanor Roosevelt), and was given a three-month prison sentence for contempt of Congress.
It was while he was at Mill Point Federal Prison that Fast began writing his most famous work, Spartacus, a novel about an uprising among Roman slaves. Blacklisted by major publishing houses following his release from prison, Fast was forced to publish the novel himself.
Snow Treasure, by Marie McSwigan. (Dutton) “This amazing book, continuously in print since 1942, tells how brave schoolchildren outwitted the invading Nazis. To keep their country’s gold out of Nazi hands, the children sledded thirteen tons of gold bricks down the mountain to a waiting ship.”
Dragon Ship: A Story of the Vikings in America, by William S. Resnick. (Coward-McCann)
1943 Tom Whipple, by Walter D. Edmonds. (Dodd) “Tom was a real venturesome young Yank, determined to see something of the world, so passing through New York on his way back from Washington, he left his Mother and signed up for sea-duty — anywhere. He finds himself on a cargo boat bound for Russia, where he made up his mind that he would see the Emperor.” Kirkus review. Mr. Edmonds’ book, The Matchlock Gun, won the Newbery Medal in 1942, but it’s out of favor nowadays because . . . guns.
Gift of the Forest, by Reginald Lal Singh and Eloise Lownsbery. (Longmans) This one seems to be an animal story set in India, although Mr. Singh was born in British Guiana (?) and lived in the United States–if the author is the same Reginald Lal Singh who later became an actor and Hollywood technical advisor.
Struggle Is Our Brother, by Henry Gregor Felsen. (Dutton) Felsen’s most famous book, Hot Rod (1948), was based on a tragic car accident that had occurred in Iowa and was about the dangers of “hot-rodding”. It looks as if Struggle is probably more of a war book.
Walter Reed: Doctor in Uniform, by Laura Newbold Wood. (Messner)
We’ll Meet in England, by Kitty Barne. (Dodd) Ms.Barne won the 1940 Carnegie Medal for British Children’s Literature for her book, Visitors from London. Set in Sussex, it features preparing for and hosting children evacuated from London. We’ll Meet in England is another WWII story, about the escape from Norway of two children of English-Norwegian parentage.
Submarine Sailor, by Gregor Felsen. (Dutton.) Another war story from the prolific Mr. Felsen.
Hosh-Ki the Navajo, by Florence Hayes. (Random) A Navajo boy goes to “white man’s school” in the 1940’s.
1944 Yankee Thunder: The Legendary Life of Davy Crockett, by Irwin Shapiro, illustrated by James Daugherty. (Messner)
The Good Ship Red Lily, by Constance Savery. (Longmans) I’ve read and heard good things about British author Constance Savery’s historical fiction. This one is set in the 1600’s about a Puritan family’s flight form England to escape persecution in the New World.
Giants of China, by Helena Kuo, illustrated by Woodi Ishmael. (Dutton) Ms. Kuo was a Chinese-American journalist, broadcaster, and translator.
1945 Nathan Hale, Patriot, by Martha Mann, (Dodd) A fictionalized life of patriot and spy, Nathan Hale (since, as I just read in David McCullough’s 1776, nobody knows much about the real Mr. Hale).
The Land of the Chinese People, by Cornelia Spencer. (Lippincott) Probably a bit dated, even though a revised edition was published in 1960.
Sentinel of the Snow Peaks: A Story of the Alaskan Wild, by Harold McCracken. (Lippincott) McCracken was an American author, Alaskan grizzly bear hunter, biplane stunt photographer, cinematographer, producer and museum director, also a noted explorer. (Wow!) Kirkus called this book “a true nature adventure”.
1946 Justin Morgan Had a Horse, by Marguerite Henry. (Wilcox & Follett.) Newbery HOnor book about a horse named Little Bub in Vermont in the 1700’s.
I only found information about this award in one book online, Literary Prizes and Their Winners, published in 1946 by R.R. Bowker Co. I doubt the award was given after 1946, or at least I can’t find any evidence that it was. The titles in bold print are the ones I’m familiar with and have in my library. Are you familiar with any of these books that were given a “gold seal” by Junior Scholastic Magazine in the 1940’s during World War II?