Jane Addams Peace Association News

Minneapolis author Louise Erdrich finds writing humor is the ‘hardest thing’
Louise Erdrich’s latest novel, “LaRose,” is a page-turner that reflects her experience of family and resilience.

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Louise Erdrich’s 15th novel, “LaRose,” entwines such weighty themes as war, family, adoption, death, grief, the Indian Child Welfare Act, reservation boarding schools, Indian culture and myth, and justice.

It’s also a page-turner. And it’s also, in parts, quite funny.

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The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich 2000 Awardee

Best books for children and young adults this month

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The Extraordinary Suzy Wright: A Colonial Woman on the Frontier (Abrams, ages 8 to 12) by Teri Kanefield tells the story of Susanna “Suzy” Wright, a little-known 18th-century Quaker frontierswoman, poet and political activist. This richly illustrated book ? featuring maps, photographs and reproductions of letters and paintings ? offers an unusual portrait of colonial America and how one woman made her mark in it.

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The Girl From the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the advent of the Civil Rights Movement by Teri Kanefield 2015 Awardee

Sherman Alexie’s 'Thunder Boy Jr.’ May Be Slated To Be A New Classic And A Bestseller [Behind an Ad Wall]

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National Book Award winner Sherman Alexie’s new picture book Thunder Boy Jr. with Yuyi Morales pubs on May 10th, and it’s very unlikely to be on any banned book lists. In fact, publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (LBYR) is rooting for Thunder Boy to make the bestseller list soon after its release.

The book represents both Alexie and Caldecott honored illustrator Yuyi Morales’ individual styles, incorporating the poetic flow of Alexie’s words along with the vibrant illustrations and magical world that Morales brings to each of her books.

LBYR editor-in-chief Alvina Ling expressed her excitement for Thunder Boy Jr. being “a joyful book about identity, and a celebration of a modern American Indian father and son relationship.”

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Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, written by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Yuyi Morales 2004 Awardee

Walter Dean Myers: Bookfest '03 - Webcast Addition to the Library of Congress [Video]

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SPEAKER: Walter Dean Myers
EVENT DATE: 2003/10/04

Speaker Biography: Walter Dean Myers has drawn on his own background and interests to produce more than seventy books for young people. For his work he has received many awards and honors, including two Newbery Honor Book Awards, five Coretta Scott King Awards, the first Michael J. Printz Award, and a Margaret A. Edwards Award. His most recent book is Blues Journey (Holiday House, 2003), illustrated by his son, Christopher. Walter Dean Myers lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.

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Now Is Your Time! The African-American Struggle for Freedom written by Walter Dean Myers 1992 Awardee

Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam written by Walter Dean Myers 2003 Awardee

FEATURE

?A Bold Peace? screening- May 5

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On May 5th in New York City, a screening of the new documentary film “A Bold Peace,” about Costa Rica’s 68 years of living without a military was shown as a part of the Workers United Film Festival. Featuring interviews with President Luis G. Solis, Dr. Oscar Arias, Christiana Figueres, Mariano Figueres, Gloria Bejarano de Calderon, Victor Ramirez, Father Pablo Richard, Arun Gandhi (grandson of Mahatma Gandhi), and many others.

A film 4 years in the making, involving a world-wide search for archival footage and the close cooperation of the Centro Costarricense de Produccion Cinematografica (Ministry of Culture and Youth) in San Jose, Costa Rica.

This film was made possible in part by the JAPA Disarmament Fund.

Workers United Film Festival

?A Bold Peace? Documentary

Since 1953, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award annually acknowledges books published in the U.S. during the previous year. Books commended by the Award address themes of topics that engage children in thinking about peace, justice, world community and/or equality of the sexes and all races. The books also must meet conventional standards of literacy and artistic excellence.

A national committee chooses winners and honor books for younger and older children.

Click here to read more about the 2016 Awards.

Kitty Stone students raise $2K to get visit from author

Young-adult novelist Mary Downing Hahn had come from her home in Maryland to meet her fifth-grade fans.

“Ask yourself, ‘What if?’” she advised aspiring writers.

Kelci Comisac of the “Mary Club” waited [in line] and considered a life as an author. “I’m thinking more about it,” she said, “and all the possibilities I can do.”

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December Stillness by Mary Downing Hahn 1989 Awardee


'Writing is always first’ ~Lynn Joseph

Senior Reporter JULIEN NEAVES features veteran award winning author and attorney Lynn Joseph, a Trindad and Tobago finalists for the Burt Award for Caribbean Literature. Joseph is nominated for The Truth Is.

On The Truth Is…, “I was inspired by my own teenage son, who moved from the Caribbean to NY, and the issue of bullying is prevalent all over the world and I wanted teens to see how their own fears of not fitting in can be overcome to do the right thing.”

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The Color of My Words by Lynn Joseph 2001 Awardee


Deborah Ellis set to visit library to discuss work

Much of Ellis’ work explores women and children issues, especially those struck by war.

Her latest book, The Cat at the Wall, is the story of a little cat who sneaks into a small Palestinian house in the West Bank. The house seems empty, until the cat realizes there is a little boy hiding beneath the floorboards. The book reveals stories about the people trapped in the house.

Fort Erie Public Library will be hosting Ellis on Monday May 9 at the Crystal Ridge Branch at 10 a.m., and Pelham Public Library will be bringing the author to St. Alexander Catholic Elementary School at 2 p.m.

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The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis 2005 Awardee

The Breadwinner Trilogy by Deborah Ellis 2004 Awardee

Parvana’s Journey by Deborah Ellis 2003 Awardee


Louise Erdrich: By the Book

What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you most?

I was a ravenous library mouse. We have a stately public library in Wahpeton, still standing serenely on its great green lawn, endowed by good citizens. I read everything. The library fed me.

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Erdrich and Grover to be featured at Library of Congress event

Duluth short-story writer Linda LeGarde Grover is one of three Native American writers who will be featured at the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center on May 10. “Spotlight on Native Writers” will take place at 4 p.m. that day in Washington, D.C., in an event that is free and open to the public.

Minneapolis writer Louise Erdrich will read from her new novel, “LaRose,” that evening, which is also the book’s pub date.

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The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich 2000 Awardee


Upper School hosts poetry festival

Keynote speaker Jacqueline Woodson, The Poetry Foundation’s 2015 Young People’s Poet Laureate, spoke about her National Book Award winner “Brown Girl Dreaming” and her experiences with writing poetry at Harvard-Westlake’s second annual poetry festival, “Wider than the Sky: A Young People’s Poetry Festival” April 16.

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Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson 2013 Awardee

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson 1996 Awardee

I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson 1995 Awardee


Section for School Libraries (SSL) 2016
Capitalizing on our Past, Revolutionizing the Future
May 5-7, 2016

Speaker: Joseph Bruchac ? Author. Joseph Bruchac is a writer and traditional storyteller who lives in the Adirondack Mountains Region of northern New York in the house he was raised in by his grandparents. Founder and Executive Director of the Greenfield Review Literary Center and The Greenfield Review Press, much of his writing draws on his Abenaki Indian ancestry.

Conference Website

The Heart of a Chief by Joseph Bruchac 1999 Awardee


Faith Ringgold on aging and apps at New York Foundation for the Arts Benefit

She finds it encouraging to be celebrated once again with an induction into the New York Foundation for the Arts Hall of Fame, alongside James Casebere, Anna Deavere Smith and Zhou Long.

“I want to devote my art to the experience of aging. When you get older you recognize time is getting away. You can then zero in on some project that never occurred to you before,” she said. “I am 85 and I know there is a need to keep my brain alive. Being an artist helps me to do that. I can do what I want and I do. I am fearless.”

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Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky Faith Ringgold 1993 Awardee


Fairfield Museum to house treasure trove of state history

The newly acquired Collier Collection at the Fairfield Museum and History Center’s Research Library is one of the most comprehensive collections of Connecticut history, and includes about 2,000 volumes, some dating to the mid-18th Century.

The Collier Collection was assembled throughout the distinguished academic career of former Connecticut State Historian Christopher Collier, comprising about 2,000 volumes and other materials that researchers and students can access.

Collier and his brother James Collier wrote the Newbery Award-winning historical novel, “My Brother Sam is Dead.” Christopher Collier also penned “All Politics is Local” and the Pulitzer-nominated “Roger Sherman’s Connecticut: Yankee Politics and the American Revolution.”

The collection includes major monographs in Connecticut history ? hundreds of local histories and biographies of Connecticut figures, scholarly articles, rare and out of print books, popular works published over the past two centuries, journals, periodicals and more than 200 doctoral dissertations on Connecticut history. The latter is the only collection of its kind in existence and the current Connecticut State Historian, Walter Woodward, called it “a miraculous find.”

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My Brother Sam Is Dead written by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier 1975 Awardee


Painted Out of Government Art

This year, Congress banned funding for oil paintings of public servants?keeping women and minorities underrepresented in government art. The History, Art & Archives department of the U.S. House has previously held competitions for portrait artists to paint the images of the women and people of color who have been historically underrepresented in government?and thus, underrepresented in the House portrait collection.

In the halls of the U.S. Capitol hangs a portrait of Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress, and the first woman, and major-party black candidate, to run for President. Painted by Kadir Nelson, the artist responsible for the artwork on the cover of Drake’s 2013 album Nothing Was the Same, it’s hard to imagine that Chisholm wouldn’t have approved.

“A photograph captures a moment,” painter Sharon Sprung said, “but a painting you work on for months, you do tremendous research. There’s so much involved every day in capturing the nuance of a lip and just changing it, or the look of an eye. There’s such a subtlety in the expression and it’s the layers of expression that really change it.”

Without the federal funding for oil portraits, posthumous paintings of the women and people of color who shaped the federal government will become even more difficult.

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Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson 2012 Awardee

The Village That Vanished written by Ann Grifalconi and illustrated by Kadir Nelson 2003 Awardee


Recruiting Diversity: A CBC Panel

Moving the conversation about diversity in children’s publishing forward, panelists specializing in employee recruitment and hiring gathered at the headquarters of the Children’s Book Council in Manhattan on April 20 to share their perspectives on diversification of an industry that remains fairly homogeneous.

Regardless of disheartening numbers, Pinkney opened the day’s discussion with the goal of displaying “positive, forward thinking” in regards to efforts being made to create a more diverse industry.

Pinkney invited the group to reflect on the ways that the industry is addressing the elephant in the room and how hiring and recruitment processes might be changing along with this increasing awareness.

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Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney 2011 Awardee

Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride, by Andrea Davis Pinkney & Brian Pinkney 2010 Awardee

Since 1953, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award annually acknowledges books published in the U.S. during the previous year. Books commended by the Award address themes of topics that engage children in thinking about peace, justice, world community and/or equality of the sexes and all races. The books also must meet conventional standards of literacy and artistic excellence.

A national committee chooses winners and honor books for younger and older children.

Read more about the 2016 Awards.

Woodson Honored with Southern Miss Medallion at Children’s Book Festival

Woodson was awarded the 49th annual Fay B. Kaigler Children?s Book Festival?s Southern Miss Medallion, the event?s top honor, on April 7 during the three-day event on the Hattiesburg campus. She also served as a keynote speaker for the festival.

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An interview with author Jacqueline Woodson

The national Young People’s Poet Laureate discusses voting and writing.

“My platform as Poet Laureate is about getting words and a love of words into communities that too often get ignored ? because of lack of money,” says Woodson. “So I’m traveling into underserved schools, community and juvenile detention centers to talk about my life as a writer, to give out books, to teach writing. These days I’m thinking about humanity ? how fragile we are all feeling, how afraid. I’m thinking, as I’ve always thought, about the struggles of people of color in this country. Of the poor. My work comes out of a deep sense of love for people and the hope of creating safe spaces through knowledge. I’ve always thought the lack of tolerance for any type of ‘other’ is about fear and my work hopes to take a deeper look at that fear,” she says. And with that look and understanding, there comes a price.

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Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson 2013 Awardee

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson 1996 Awardee

I Hadn?t Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson 1995 Awardee


Q & A with Deborah Hopkinson

Deborah Hopkinson has a lot to celebrate this year, with multiple new books being released, including her third novel, A Bandit?s Tale, a picaresque novel narrated by Rocco Zacarro, an Italian boy sold into slavery in 19th-century New York City, a period during which both children and animals were routinely abused. She spoke with Bookshelf from her home in Oregon about how she juggles her many projects.

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Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings by Deborah Hopkinson 2004 Awardee

Shutting Out the Sky: Life in the Tenements of New York 1880-1924 Deborah Hopkinson 2004 Awardee

A Band of Angels: A Story Inspired written by the Jubilee Singers by Deborah Hopkinson 2000 Awardee


Author Katherine Paterson, musician Grace Potter to receive honorary degrees at Champlain College Commencement May 14

Katherine Paterson, 83, is the author of more than 30 books, including 16 novels for children and young people. She has twice won the Newbery Medal, for ?Bridge to Terabithia? in 1978 and ?Jacob Have I Loved? in 1981. ?The Master Puppeteer? won the National Book Award in 1977 and ?The Great Gilly Hopkins? won the National Book Award in 1979 and was also a Newbery Honor Book. For the body of her work she received the Hans Christian Anderson Award in 1998, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2006, and in 2000 was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress.

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The Great Gilly Hopkins written by Katherine Paterson 1979 Awardee


The 2016 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Winners will be announced on Monday, April 25, 2016!

Keep an eye on this space for the announcement which will be cross-posted to social media, the JAPA website, and the emailing list.

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Since 1953, the Jane Addams Children?s Book Award annually acknowledges books published in the U.S. during the previous year. Books commended by the Award address themes of topics that engage children in thinking about peace, justice, world community and/or equality of the sexes and all races. The books also must meet conventional standards of literacy and artistic excellence.

A national committee chooses winners and honor books for younger and older children.

Read more about the 2015 Awards.

Over 100 Writers Call on PEN American Center to Reject Israeli Government Sponsorship

In a letter made public today over 100 writers, including Naomi Shihab Nye and Louise Erdrich, have called on the PEN American Center “to reject support from the Embassy of Israel” for PEN’s annual World Voices Festival. PEN lists the Israeli Embassy as among the “Champions” of the Festival, and as a sponsor of one of the Festival’s panels.

Full List

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Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye 1998 Awardee

Sitti’s Secrets by Naomi Shihab Nye 1995 Awardee

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich 2000 Awardee


Bookworks and the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation Present ‘A Word With Writers’, 5/26

Bookworks and the Albuquerque Public Library Foundation are collaborating on their fourth installment of their fundraiser literary series, A Word With Writers, May 26, hosting Sherman Alexie on tour for his new children’s picture book, Thunder Boy Jr. (Little, Brown & Co.).

With illustrations from Caldecott Award-winning illustrator, Yuyi Morales, Thunder Boy Jr. is the story of a young boy who must find his own identity despite being named after his father. Morales’ vivid images bring to life Alexie’s endearing prose for a perfect Father’s Day gift for literary fans.

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Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, written by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Yuyi Morales 2004 Awardee


Author Naomi Shihab Nye to Visit Guilford College April 13-14

Renowned poet, novelist and internationally-recognized writing workshop leader Naomi Shihab Nye will come to campus for a two-day visit beginning on Wednesday, April 13, as the inaugural Sherwood Anderson Distinguished Visiting Writer at Guilford College.

During her visit, the award-winning writer, anthologist, activist and educator, known for her inspiring presentations and her commitment to “the literature of encouragement,” will be visiting classes and leading writing workshops.

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Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye 1998 Awardee

Sitti’s Secrets by Naomi Shihab Nye 1995 Awardee


Award winning storyteller Tim Tingle wins 2016 Colleen Salley Storytelling Award

On April 6, 2016, storyteller Tim Tingle received the Coleen Salley Storytelling Award as part of the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. The award honors “a storyteller whose mission reflects the ideals and dedication to the field that Ms. Salley personified,” according to the University website.

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Crossing Bok Chitto: told in written form by Tim Tingle, illustrated by Jeanne Rorex Bridges 2007 Awardee


Octopus Brains Are So Much Cooler Than You Think

“Their brain is so unlike ours, it’s almost difficult to describe it as a brain,” explains Sy Montgomery, a naturalist and author whose most recent book, The Soul of an Octopus, is a fascinating dive into cephalopod psychology.

Montgomery was interviewed by Inquiring Minds co-host Indre Viskontas; you can listen to the entire conversation below

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Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery 2013 Awardee


We Came to America by Faith Ringgold | SLJ Review

As Americans wrestle with the moral and legal aspects of immigration, Ringgold offers a reminder of the country’s multifaceted lineage?and of the beauty to be discovered at cultural crossroads.

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Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad in the Sky by Faith Ringgold 1993 Awardee


Mitali Perkins to Sign Books at San Francisco Opening of Rickshaw Girl on 4/16

Award-winning Bay Area author Mitali Perkins will sign books at the San Francisco opening of Rickshaw Girl, presented by the Bay Area Children’s Theatre (BACT), Saturday, April 16, at the Children’s Creativity Museum Theater, 221 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103. Rickshaw Girl, based on Perkins’s book by the same name, plays weekends, April 16 - May 1.

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Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins,illustrations by Jamie Hogan 2008 Awardee

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Since 1953, the Jane Addams Children?s Book Award annually acknowledges books published in the U.S. during the previous year. Books commended by the Award address themes of topics that engage children in thinking about peace, justice, world community and/or equality of the sexes and all races. The books also must meet conventional standards of literacy and artistic excellence.

A national committee chooses winners and honor books for younger and older children.

Read more about the 2015 Awards.

Authors Use Awards to Advocate for Diversity in Children’s Books

In a 2014 New York Times op-ed, children’s book author Walter Dean Myers reminded readers that literature transmits values and that the messages of oppression and misrepresentation in current children’s books are appalling.

Books for young people represent a unique space in publishing, Newbery medalist Linda Sue Park asserted in her 2015 TEDx Talk. “If books have the power to help us find ourselves,” she said, “then a children’s book has superpowers.”

Want more on diverse literature and award-winners? Check out the South Asia Book Award, Disability in Kidlit, Vamos a Leer, and SLJ’s Cultural Diversity Booklist. See our Q&A with Zareen Jaffrey, executive editor of Salaam Reads (a Simon & Schuster imprint that will publish children’s and YA books featuring Muslim characters), for more about diversity initiatives in the publishing world.

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Now Is Your Time! The African-American Struggle for Freedom by Walter Dean Myers 1992 Awardee

Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam by Walter Dean Myers 2003 Awardee

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park 2011 Awardee

When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park 2003 Awardee


Watch Bill Murray Read Empowering Poetry on ‘Kimmel’

In celebration of National Poetry Month, Bill Murray contributed a list of his favorite poems to a piece for the April issue of Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine.

“Listen, you a wonder,” Murray read. “You a city of a woman. You got a geography of your own. Listen, somebody need a map to understand you. Somebody need directions to move around you. Listen, woman: You not a no place, anonymous girl. Mister with his hands on you, he got his hands on some-damn-body.”

The resulting piece features annotations from the actor; for “What the Mirror Said,” he wrote, “Everybody needs an 'Attagirl!’ now and then.”

Clifton, a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, died in 2010. Murray previously read her poem at a December benefit for New York City’s Poets House.

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Amifika by Lucille Clifton 1978 Awardee


CSU Dominguez Hills Theatre Produces Alice Childress’ 'Wine In The Wilderness’

“Wine In The Wilderness” was first performed on WGHB-TV in Boston, Massachusetts, as part of the series, “On Being Black.” Playwright Alice Childress is the first woman to receive an Obie Award for Best Original Off-Broadway Play in 1956 for “Trouble In Mind” (1955). Some of her controversial yet highly acclaimed works include “Florence” (1949), “Wedding Band” (1966), and a novel, “A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But A Sandwich.”

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A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But A Sandwich by Alice Childress 1974 Awardee


National Book Award-Winning Author Jacqueline Woodson to Speak April 5

Her talk, titled “Brown Girl Dreaming,” after her award winning memoir, is free and open to the public.

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Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson 2013 Awardee

I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson 1995 Awardee

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson 1996 Awardee


Don’t overlook the power of biographies

“Lives of the Explorers: Discoveries, Disasters (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull

The unorthodox portraits of these people accompanied by the text will convince you of their larger-than-life personalities. If you like this book, try other book by Kathleen Krull in the series "Lives of ?”

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Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull 2004 Awardee

Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull 1997 Awardee


Journey to the Emerald Isle in these satisfying reads

Where I Belong By Mary Downing Hahn, Clarion Books, 2014

Mary Downing Hahn, an exceptionally talented writer, presents this in a refreshingly realistic and personable manner, rendering a boy’s love of the outdoors and admiration of The Lord of the Rings wonderfully.

Green Shamrocks By Eve Bunting, Scholastic, 2011

With brightly colored illustrations that complement the widely spaced text, this story will entertain young ones, and it is ideal for activity extensions that invite children to grow their own plants.

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December Stillness by Mary Downing Hahn 1989 Awardee

The Wednesday Surprise by Eve Bunting 1990 Awardee


Book Highlight: Part 7

The final installment of our seven part series on the 2015 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Ceremony features the introduction given by Heather Palmer for Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal, written by Margarita Engle, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, named an Honor Book in the Books for Older Children.

Introduction by Heather Palmer

Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal is a work of art. Written by Margarita Engle and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, this historic novel in verse transports readers to the Panamanian jungle in the first years of the 20th century. Entranced by the americano recruiter’s clinking coins and false promises, a 14-year old Cuban boy has lied his way to Panama with thousands of other islanders for the purpose of digging a canal to link the world’s two largest oceans. It takes only a few days before he is struck with regret, having been introduced to the realities of the back-breaking labor, deplorable living conditions, wholly segregated organization and unjust pay scale for workers in the Canal Zone. In this story, we bear witness to innocent people who have been caught in a dangerous situation over which they have no control, and to the flora and fauna that is disrupted by the digging of what is widely proclaimed as the world’s 8th Wonder.

Ms. Engle’s Cuban-American roots, her studies in biology and agronomy, her thorough research and masterful writing are the perfect blend for this story. Her vibrant verse provides an informative, detailed picture of the Panama Craze, yet leaves ample room for readers to imagine life deep in the jungle. Her poems offer readers an unimpeded view of:

  • the contrasting realities of this jungle, called the land of many butterflies by indigenous people, and known as the land of boiling mud, raging sun, and furious fevers to the islander workers.
  • the ease with which the delicate balance of an ecosystem can be completely and shamefully destroyed in the name of innovation.
  • the necessity to seek and proclaim multiple sides of every story

As a committee, we were moved both intellectually and emotionally by Ms. Engle’s work. First, we admire her masterful approach to treating perspective. She has dug deeper than the information shared in the typical American history book, basing characters on documented historical records and personal interviews with descendants of silver people, and sharing insight into the viewpoints of the native peoples who call the jungle their home, the imported workers, and the creatures of the rainforest.

We appreciate the way in which Silver People expands children’s awareness of social justice issues such as civil rights, race, ethnicity and class to other lands, peoples and cultures. We find the timing of this novel to be extraordinary - it not only marks the centenary of the completion of the original canal, but also raises awareness of what is to come with the current day canal expansions in Panama and additions in Nicaragua.

Of particular note is the way in which Ms. Engle has succeeded in leaving readers with a glimmer of hope while writing about this unarguably dismal episode in our history. Indeed, if we strive to send forth young people that are able to understand human needs with compassion, find creative solutions to social injustice, and accept responsibility for the future of all people, we must model the art of “offering hope” in devastating circumstances.

Thank you for tackling with such grace a calamitous and regrettable chapter of our history. Thank you for telling the largely uncelebrated story of the silver people, and for sharing it in a way that is engaging and accessible to readers of varying abilities. Our committee believes that Silver People will leave a lasting impression on young readers, and is delighted to name it an honor book for the 2015 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award.

This concludes our final installment of the seven part series of the 2015 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Winners and Honorees leading up to the announcement of the 2016 award winners and honorees on April 25, 2016.

Since 1953, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award annually acknowledges books published in the U.S. during the previous year. Books commended by the Award address themes of topics that engage children in thinking about peace, justice, world community and/or equality of the sexes and all races. The books also must meet conventional standards of literacy and artistic excellence.

A national committee chooses winners and honor books for younger and older children.

Read more about the 2015 Awards.



© 2016 Jane Addams Peace Association

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