Funded by Amazon.com, the $2,000 grant will help offset costs for additional research on her picture-book manuscript, Noah Webster Argues for America.
Maurer said her work in progress introduces young readers to the feisty revolutionary who fought with a pen, galvanizing patriotism for the war against the British by writing the first uniquely American textbooks for American schoolhouses, contriving a new American alphabet with Benjamin Franklin, promoting simplified American spellings, and even publishing a new dictionary with distinctly American words, such as hickory and skunk, not reflected in the purely British dictionary.
“I’m trying to show his immense influence on language in America in an engaging way,” she added.
Maurer has written more than 90 nonfiction and fiction children’s books. Her picture book Storm Codes, which is set in Duluth, won the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards Honor and the Jeanette Fair Educators Award.