2020 Book of the Year

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture presented its 13th “Book of the Year” award to Peggy Thomas for “Full of Beans: Henry Ford Grows a Car.” The book describes Henry Ford’s drive to incorporate soybeans into every part of his life.

After the Great Depression, the famous carmaker and businessman wanted to support ailing farmers. Researching ways to use farmers’ crops at his Ford Motor Company, Ford and his team discovered that the soybean was the perfect answer. Soon, Ford’s cars contained many soybean plastic parts. His commitment to soybean farmers didn’t stop there though. Ford not only ate soybeans, he wore clothes made of soybean fabric as well. 

Thomas lives with her husband and two children in Middleport, New York. She is the award-winning author of several non-fiction and fiction books for children, including “Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation” and “Farmer George Plants a Nation.”

Thomas said, “It’s a great honor to have ‘Full of Beans’ recognized by the Foundation. This book has come full circle from an idea shared with me at an agricultural conference five years ago to this award. Writing about our agricultural history has truly been a privilege. It is an important part of American history, and without the Foundation’s continued advocacy in children’s literature, publishers would not be aware of the need for these stories, and children would not read them. For that I am forever grateful.”

The “Book of the Year” award springs from the Foundation’s effort to identify “Accurate Ag Books,” a collection of nearly 500 books for children, teenagers and adults that accurately cover agricultural topics. Book of the Year selections are educational, help to create positive public perceptions about agriculture, inspire readers to learn more and touch their readers’ lives as well as tell the farmer’s story. The Accurate Ag Books database is available online.

To accompany “Full of Beans,” the Foundation has created an educator’s guide.

In honor of Thomas’ award and Austin, the host city of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 101st Annual Convention, the Foundation will donate 100 books and a $1,000 ag literacy grant to the Austin Public Library.

Photo credit: American Farm Bureau Federation

Photo caption: Book of the Year author Peggy Thomas at a book signing during the 101st AFBF Annual Convention

Online Extra

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Student magazine on the topic of soybeans


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