Mayerson Book Award

While The Mayerson Foundation operated the MSLP, a free seminal text was offered annually to recognize a student who was leading initiatives in service and/or service-learning.  Local high schools and nonprofit programs that engaged high schoolers were eligible to receive the book, which included a bookplate to write the recipient’s name inside and was awarded to a student through avenues deemed fit by the school.  Some schools created Mayerson Book Award libraries with the names of student recipients over the years, some awarded the book at an all-school service recognition ceremony, academic awards night, during sports awards, or through service club.


The Mayerson Book Award was created to celebrate the spirit of service that was happening inside a school.  No competition against schools with varying resources.  Strength in numbers: the Mayerson Book Award started in 10 schools and, at program end, was presented in over 110 high schools to celebrate student leadership in service.   

Creating a Spirit of Recognition

We never required a school to disclose the student name or why the student was chosen.  As with many Mayerson Foundation programs, our aim was to reduce barriers to service & support schools in enhancing their service learning culture.  And then, we got out of the way.  We simply requested that a school utilize the book to help celebrate and recognize student servant leadership in the school, and consider this question: “Is service elevated as much as other initiatives like academics or sports?"

Previous Book Selections

The Mayerson Book Award was selected by a team of local teachers who assessed and provided feedback on the best texts available to celebrate, uplift, and recognize student service.  In efforts to document this award and the history of these texts, we have opted to keep this page live as a resource for current and future educators.

  • The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls
  • Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Ordinary Resurrection, Jonathan Kozol
  • Chicken Soup for the Volunteer Soul, Multiple Contributors
  • Three Cups of Tea, David Oliver Relin and Greg Mortenson
  • The Impossible Will Take a Little While, Paul Loeb
  • Soul of a Citizen - Paul Loeb
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains, Tracy Kidder
  • Freedom Writers Diary, Erin Gruwell & Freedom Writers
  • The Soloist, Steve Lopez
  • Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell
  • 2011: Room to Love: Village Life Book
  • 2012: Dance Lest We All Fall Down, Margaret Willson
  • 2013: This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, Jay Allison and Dan Gediman
  • 2014: I Am Malala, Christina Lamb and Malala Yousafzai
  • 2015: A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
  • 2016: The Other Wes Moore, Wes Moore
  • 2017: The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, William Kamkwamba
  • 2018: Congratulations, By The Way, George Saunders
    *A final Book Award book signifying 25 years of important service-learning in our schools.  Congratulations!