Jane Addams Peace Association News

Kirkus Review: A Birthday Cake for George Washington

A full-page author’s note goes into detail about Hercules’ life, informing readers that he escaped in 1797, leaving Delia still enslaved. The book is a sorry contrast to Emily Arnold McCully’s The Escape of Oney Judge (2007), which explicitly tells the story of one of Martha Washington’s enslaved servants who took freedom.

Children whose grown-ups do not address the material in the notes with them will be left with a sorely incomplete understanding of both the protagonists’ lives and slavery itself.

Read More | The Escape of Oney Judge: Martha Washington’s Slave Finds Freedom by Emily Arnold McCully 2008 Awardee


Choctaw storyteller visits Grand View School

Grand View Public School hosted a cultural event where students heard native storyteller Tim Tingle tell the story of a young Choctaw girl who befriended a family of slaves and eventually led them to freedom to avoid being separated after a slave sale. The book “Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom,” was written by Tim Tingle and illustrated by Jeanne Rorex Bridges.

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


Recent Controversies Spark Discussion About Slavery Books

Andrea Pinkney is one of the finest, most intelligent and knowledgeable editors that I know,” says Doreen Rappaport, a prize-winning children’s author whose books include “Escape from Slavery” and “No More! Stories and Songs of Slaves Resistance.”

Children’s author-illustrator Don Tate and others say slavery books for children are an intricate art of communicating historical crimes that neither overwhelms nor misleads readers. “There’s no checklist for the right way to do this,” says Megan Schliesman, a librarian at the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “We’re in the midst of a huge learning process.”

Read More | 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
We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song written by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton 2014 Awardee
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. written by Doreen Rappaport 2002 Awardee


Words on a Wire: Remembering Francisco X. Alarcn and C.D. Wright

Host Daniel Chacn remembers 2 poets who died within days of each other this month. The famed Chicano poet Francisco X. Alarcn died on January 15, and award-winning American poet C.D. Wright died in her sleep on January 12. Daniel opens the show with a poem by Alarcn, and reflects on a 2012 “Words on a Wire” interview with C.D. Wright.

Read More | Poems to Dream Together=Poemas Para Soar Juntos by Francisco X. Alarcn 2006 Awardee


Francisco Jimnez talks about the importance of education at Fairlawn Elementary

The writer, who recently had the newest Santa Maria-Bonita District school named after him and his brother, Robert Jimnez, told stories of his upbringing in poverty and stressed the crucial role education played in his life and career.

He summed up the discussion by explaining to the students three reasons they should stay in school: to honor the sacrifices their parents made; to have the opportunity to choose their careers; and to give their families a chance at a comfortable life.

Read More | The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child by Francisco Jimnez 1998 Awardee


Free Samples of the Walter Dean Myers Award-Winning Books

The We Need Diverse Books organization has revealed the winning and honor books for the inaugural Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature. This prize, named after the late Walter Dean Myers, has also become known as “The Walter.” The award’s mission is to honor the memory of Walter Dean Myers and his literary heritage, as well as celebrate diversity in teen literature.“

Read More | Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam by Walter Dean Myers 2003 Awardee
Now Is Your Time! The African-American Struggle for Freedom by Walter Dean Myers 1992 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 2015 Awards.

Remembering Friend, Mentor and Poet Francisco X. Alarcn

“Thank you for everything, Francisco,” I said as we parted ways. And I like to believe that he understood what I meant by everything: for his exceptional example as a teacher, a writer, an activist, and a mentor. As I move forward on my journey, I know I’m a better person because I learned from people like him how to respect my communities and how to love myself. by RIGOBERTO GONZLEZ

Read More | Poems to Dream Together=Poemas Para Soar Juntos by Francisco X. Alarcn 2006 Awardee


Reynolds, Kiely Win WNDB’s Debut Walter Award

The inaugural Walter Dean Myers Award for outstanding children’s literature in the YA category has been given to All American Boys (S&S/Atheneum/ Dhouly), written by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. All American Boys is the story of two teens, one white, the other black, and the aftermath of an act of police brutality upon one that is witnessed by the other, who flees the scene. We Need Diverse Books’ Walter Award committee announced the winners on Wednesday morning.

Read More | Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam by Walter Dean Myers 2003 Awardee
Now Is Your Time! The African-American Struggle for Freedom by Walter Dean Myers 1992 Awardee


Meet Jacqueline Woodson, author of “Brown Girl Dreaming”

The recipient of numerous awards, Woodson is also the author of more than 30 books for all ages, including Miracle’s Boys, From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun, Locomotion, After Tupac & D Foster, Feathers, and Show Way.

Woodson will make a lively presentation and take questions from the audience, followed by a book sale and signing.

Read More | 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


The Thread Live: 2016 authors announced

The Thread’s 2016 season of author interviews has been announced: Four writers will bring discussions of science, faith and family to the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, beginning in February.

May 9: National Book Award winner Louise Erdrich on “LaRose”

Read More | The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich 2000 Awardee


Celebrating Where I’m From

“I believe that writing belongs to everybody,” George Ella wrote in a recent Creative Commonwealth article about the project. “It’s about getting what’s in your heart and head on paper so that you can understand yourself, so you can save what’s precious to you, and so you can share it if you want. We all have a trove of memories related to where we’re from.”

Read More | You and Me and Home Sweet Home by George Ella Lyon and Stephanie Anderson 2010 Awardee


Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at the New York Historical Society

Author, playwright, and filmmaker Calvin Alexander Ramsey will read his story, Ruth and the Green Book. Calvin Alexander Ramsey is the proud recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Award.

Read More | Belle, the Last Mule at Gee?s Bend written by Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Bettye Stroud, illustrated by John Holyfield, 2012 Awardee
Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey with Gwen Strauss and illustrated by Floyd Cooper 2011 Awardee


Scholastic Halts Distribution of ‘A Birthday Cake for George Washington’

“We do not believe this title meets the standards of appropriate presentation of information to younger children, despite the positive intentions and beliefs of the author, editor and illustrator,” it said in a statement.

While defending the team that produced the book, the publisher said that without more historical background, “the book may give a false impression of the reality of the lives of slaves and therefore should be withdrawn.”

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George Washington slave book pulled after criticism

Author Ramin Ganeshram and illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton had written about the historical context in notes accompanying the story, but were criticised for not having included it in the main narrative.

Editor Andrea Davis Pinkney said in her own blog post on the subject that while “the topic of slavery is one that must be handled with the utmost care”, the book “presents an important slice of American history … On several occasions, the book comments on slavery, acknowledges it, and offers children and adults who will be sharing the book 'a way in’ as they speak to these issues.”

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Andrea Davis Pinkney’s Statement

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

Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s Statement

We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song written by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton 2014 Awardee


13 (Honest) Books About Slavery*

Here are 13 (mostly) (sic) honest books for young readers that will help them confront the unpalatable truth of slavery, and celebrate the ingenuity and strength of those who resisted, escaped and survived.

Moses, A reverent retelling of Harriet Tubman’s brave work on the Underground Railroad, written by Carole Boston Weatherford with luminous illustrations by Kadir Nelson.

Dave the Potter: This meticulous book by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier, celebrates his genius while reminding us that it was no protection from the inhumanity of being “owned.”

Sojourner Truth, like Harriet Tubman, is a great historical figure for kids to start reading about early on. This vibrant picture book by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney celebrates the strength and resourcefulness of Truth in playful, engaging language.

Henry’s Freedom Box: A retelling of the true story of Henry “Box” Brown, written by Ellen Levine and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, this gorgeous picture book shows Brown’s heartbreaking separation from his wife and children, who are sold to new owners, and his determination to escape by any means.

A saga stretching for generations, Walter Dean Myers’ The Glory Field follows one family from its first ancestor kidnapped and sold into slavery up until five generations later, now free from slavery but still suffering deeply from its wounds.

The protagonist of Christopher Paul Curtis’ Elijah of Buxton is the first person born free in a small community of escaped slaves north of the Canadian border. But unexpected events draw him south, and slowly he begins to discover the truth of the enslaved life his family escaped, and how desperately he values his own freedom.

*Title edited by Webmaster to give a more accurate reflection of the article’s contents.

Read More | Birmingham, 1963 by Carole Boston Weatherford 2008 Awardee
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
Martin?s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. written by Doreen Rappaport with artwork by Bryan Collier 2002 Awardee
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
Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam by Walter Dean Myers 2003 Awardee
Now Is Your Time! The African-American Struggle for Freedom by Walter Dean Myers 1992 Awardee
Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis 2006 Awardee
The Watsons Go to Birmingham ? 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis 1996 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.

American Library Association announces 2016 youth media award winners

Caldecott Honor Books:
“Trombone Shorty,” illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Troy Andrews and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS; “Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement,” illustrated by Ekua Holmes, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Candlewick Press

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:
“Trombone Shorty,” illustrated by Bryan Collier, is the King Illustrator Book winner. The book was written by Troy Andrews and Bill Taylor and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS.

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award:
“Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement,” illustrated by Ekua Holmes, is the Steptoe illustrator award winner. The book is written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Candlewick Press.

May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award recognizing an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site.
Jacqueline Woodson will deliver the 2017 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. Woodson is the 2014 National Book Award winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir, “Brown Girl Dreaming.” The author of more than two dozen books for young readers, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a recipient of the NAACP Image Award, a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation.

Odyssey Honor Recording: “Echo,” produced by Scholastic Audio/Paul R. Gagne, written by Pam Munoz Ryan and narrated by Mark Bramhall, David de Vries, MacLeod Andrews and Rebecca Soler.

Pura Belpre (Illustrator) Award honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience: “The Drum Dream Girl,” illustrated by Rafael Lopez, is the Belpre Illustrator Award winner. The book was written by Margarita Engle and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Belpre Illustrator Honor Books for illustration were selected: “Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras,” illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS.

Pura Belpre (Author) Award:
“Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir,” written by Margarita Engle, is the Belpre Author Award winner. The book is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children:
“Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras,” written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh, is the Sibert Award winner. The book is published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS. Read More

Sibert Honor Books:
“The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club,” by Phillip Hoose and published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers; “Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement,” written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Ekua Holmes and published by Candlewick Press.

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults - finalists for the award: “Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir,” written by Margarita Engle and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

Read More |
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. written by Doreen Rappaport with artwork by Bryan Collier 2002 Awardee
Birmingham, 1963 by Carole Boston Weatherford 2008 Awardee
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson 2013 Awardee
From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson 1996
I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson 1995
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan 2001 Awardee
Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal by Margarita Engle 2015 Awardee
The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle 2009 Awardee
Separate Is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh 2015 Awardee
Claudette Colvin by Phillip Hoose 2008 Awardee


Alexandria Museum of Art to feature Harlem Renaissance

The Alexandria Museum of Art will celebrate the lives of Arna Bontemps and Aaron Douglas with special events.

“An Evening with Arna Bontemps w/ Danielle J. Kimbrough” is set for 5 p.m. Saturday at the museum. Danielle J. Kimbrough and the Shreveport/ Bossier Community Performing Artists will perform the tribute to Harlem Renaissance author Arna Bontemps, who lived in Alexandria as a child.

Read More | Story of the Negro written by Arna Bontemps 1956 Awardee


Penguin Young Readers and We Need Diverse Books to Host a Writing Contest

Penguin Young Readers and We Need Diverse Books has established a partnership. The two organizations will host a writing contest to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. Ethnically diverse writers can submit in their middle grade stories (for readers ages 8 to 14) beginning in April 2016.

Earlier this week, the publisher released a 40th anniversary edition of Taylor’s book earlier this week. It features new content from Taylor, a foreword written by Jacqueline Woodson, and illustrations by Kadir Nelson.

*Editor?s Note: Apologies for the play on words in the title. I think I?m funny.

Read More | The Well by Mildred D. Taylor 1996 Awardee
Let the Circle Be Unbroken by Mildred D. Taylor 1982 Awardee
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor 1977 Awardee
Song of the Trees by Mildred D. Taylor 1976 Awardee
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson 2013 Awardee
From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson 1996
I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson 1995
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


USA Film Festival Unveils 2016 KidFilm Lineup, Schedule

KidFilm is the oldest and largest-attended children’s film festival in the United States, featuring an entertaining, educational, and diverse line-up of new and classic films for both children and adults.

READ-ALONG WITH TAYE DIGGS AND SHANE EVANS! - A Tribute to actor/author Taye Diggs and illustrator Shane Evans. The program will include a “Read-Along” presentation of Digg’s new book, “Mixed Me!” with illustrations by Evans. FREE copies of “Mixed Me!” will be distributed at the show (while supplies last). Following the reading, Diggs and Evans will sign books for the audience.

MEET KATHERINE PATERSON! - A Tribute to author Katherine Paterson, award-winning author of contemporary classic young adult novels “Bridge to Terabithia” and “The Great Gilly Hopkins.” The KidFilm program will include a sneak preview of the new live-action feature film The Great Gilly Hopkins, starring Julia Stiles, Kathy Bates, Glenn Close, Billy Magnussen, Octavia Spencer, Bill Cobbs and Sophie Nelisse (The Book Thief) as Gilly Hopkins. An on-stage Q&A with Katherine Paterson and David Paterson (screenwriter) will follow the screening.

Read More | The Same Stuff as Stars by Katherine Paterson 2003 Awardee
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson 1979 Awardee
We March written and illustrated by Shane W. Evans 2013 Awardee


Hillary’s new star turn: heroine of children’s books

Cynthia Levinson once lived across the hall from Clinton at Wellesley, and her biography “Hillary Rodham Clinton: Do All the Good You Can” (Balzer + Bray, ages 10 to 14) conveys her admiration for her former schoolmate. Levinson’s portrait shows a smart, determined young woman who acts fearlessly and with conviction.

Michelle Markel and LeUyen Pham’s picture book biography, “Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born to Lead” (Balzer + Bray, ages 4 to 8), focuses on the mostly male political world Clinton had to navigate to get where she is.

Read More | We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March written by Cynthia Levinson 2013 Awardee
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909, written by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet 2014


Best books put us in characters’ shoes

Patricia Polacco’s “Thank You, Mr. Falker.” In this autobiographical story, Polacco recounts the early anguish of her dyslexia and of being relentlessly bullied by one of her classmates. Polacco’s teacher, Mr. Falker, recognizes that Polacco needs extra help and spends hours working with her until the words on the page become more than a jumble of letters. In Polacco’s words, Mr. Felker (the real-life Mr. Falker) “reached into the most lonely darkness and pulled me into bright sunlight.”

Read More | Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco 1993 Awardee


Suggested reading on civil rights movement

The Kansas City Public Library suggests these books about the civil rights movement:

Elementary
“Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama” by Hester Bass; illustrated by E. B. Lewis
“We March” by Shane W. Evans
“Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down” by Andrea Davis Pinkney; illustrated by Brian Pinkney
“Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend” by Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Bettye Stroud; illustrated by John Holyfield
“Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation” by Duncan Tonatiuh

Middle school
“Marching to the Mountaintop: How Poverty, Labor Fights, and Civil Rights Set the Stage for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Final Hours” by Ann Bausum
“Birmingham Sunday” by Larry Dane Brimner
“The Girl from the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement” by Teri Kanefield
“Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement” by Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by Ekua Holmes
“Revolution” by Deborah Wiles
“Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson

High school
“Black & White: The Confrontation Between Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene ‘Bull’ Connor” by Larry Dane Brimner
“We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March” by Cynthia Levinson
“Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don’t You Grow Weary” by Elizabeth Partridge

Read More | Night Boat to Freedom pictures by E. B. Lewis 2007 Awardee
We March written and illustrated by Shane W. Evans 2013 Awardee
Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride by Andrea Pinkney, Brian Pinkney 2010 Awardee
Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend written by Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Bettye Stroud, illustrated by John Holyfield, 2012 Awardee
Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey with Gwen Strauss and illustrated by Floyd Cooper 2011 Awardee
Separate Is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh 2015 Awardee
Marching to the Mountaintop: How Poverty, Labor Fights and Civil Rights Set the Stage for Martin Luther King Jr’s Final Hours by Ann Bausum 2013 Awardee
With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman’s Right to Vote by Ann Bausum 2005 Awardee
Birmingham Sunday by Larry Dane Brimner 2011 Awardee
We Are One: The Story of Bayard Rustin by Larry Dane Brimner
The Girl from the Tar Paper School by Teri Kanefield 2015 Awardee
Birmingham, 1963 by Carole Boston Weatherford 2008 Awardee
Revolution by Deborah Wiles 2015 Awardee
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson 2013 Awardee
From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson 1996
I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson 1995
We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March written by Cynthia Levinson 2013 Awardee
Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don’t You Grow Weary by Elizabeth Partridge 2010 Awardee
Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange by Elizabeth Partridge 1999 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.

Click here to read more about the 2015 Awards. http://www.janeaddamspeace.org/jacba/2015ceremony.shtml

A day of pride for Afghan girl grads amid growing threats

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It was a very special day for the Zabuli Education Center, located about 100 miles north of Kabul. For the first time, girls in that village graduated from high school. Special correspondent Beth Murphy of the Ground Truth Project reports on the hopes and challenges for students and educators there.

Read More | Razia’s Ray of Hopeby Elizabeth Suneby 2014 Awardee


Can The Smithsonian Save The U.S. Postal Service From Obsolescence In The Age Of Facebook?

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Kadir Nelson painted the original artwork for the Joe DiMaggio baseball all-stars stamp released in 2012. His small panel painting is currently on view at the Smithsonian?s National Postal Museum, part of an exhibition of several dozen artworks relating to the history of New York.

Read More | 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


Author Katherine Paterson Shares the Importantce of Reading at Vermont Humanities Council Event

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Katherine Paterson’s talk, ?Reading for the Life of the World,? is part of the Vermont Humanities Council?s First Wednesdays lecture series and is free and open to the public.

Read More | The Same Stuff as Stars by Katherine Paterson 2003 Awardee |
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson 1979 Awardee


Wisconsin parents worry book about a girl defying the Taliban will indoctrinate their kids into Islam

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Third-graders are reading ?Nasreen?s Secret School,? by Jeanette Winter, which depicts an Afghan girl living in fear of Muslim religious fundamentalists who are destroying books and preventing girls from going to school. Superintendent David Gray said the book, which is widely read among schoolchildren but has generated controversy elsewhere, was assigned in all district schools this fall as part of the ?Engage New York? curriculum intended to boost low test scores.

Read More | Nasreen?s Secret School by Jeanette Winter 2010 Awardee


Books add perspective to current events

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There are plenty of topics from which we can choose if we?re hoping to talk with our kids about the issues facing the world today. Poverty, war, immigration, homelessness, refugees ? where do we begin with all of this when the topics can be so heavy and deep? With books, of course.

?Number the Stars,? by Lois Lowry. Set in Denmark during the Nazi occupation in World War II, ?Number the Stars? follows 10-year-old Annemarie as she learns about love and courage while helping her best friend?s family. This book shows the power of goodness to overcome evil and that goodness doesn?t have to come in great, big packages. The bravery of one or two people, unwilling to be cowed by enormous fear, can change the fate of a generation.

?Esperanza Rising,? by Pam Munoz Ryan. America has a rich history of being a place of refuge and opportunity for immigrants, so learning about the path of immigrants is both eye-opening and necessary. ?Esperanza Rising? paints a sincere, beautiful picture of what that path might have actually looked like.

?A Long Walk to Water,? by Linda Sue Park. Set in Sudan, ?A Long Walk to Water? tells the true story of two different children during two different times. Salva and Nya?s stories intersect with beauty and hope in the end, reminding readers that in order to make a difference, one need only find a place desperate for change. Parents and kids will have a chance to imagine the millions of people who are on journeys similar to these all over the world right now.

Read More | Number the Stars by Lois Lowry 1990 Awardee
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan 2001 Awardee
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park 2011 Awardee


San Antonio Current Events for December 15

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Naomi Shihab Nye: Award-winning local poet, author and editor Naomi Shihab Nye celebrates the release of her new Wings Press book devoted to her cherished work ?Famous,? a charmingly ironic poem that has loaned itself to everything from graduation cards and speeches to creative writing exercises and standardized tests. Free, 4-7pm, Kathleen Sommers Boutique, 2417 N. Main Ave., (210) 732- 2207, kathleensommers.com.

Read More | Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye 1998 Awardee |
Sitti’s Secrets by Naomi Shihab Nye 1995 Awardee


Cool Brains! for cool kids reading by Jacqueline Woodson

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On Sunday, January 24, Cool Brains! Inprint Readings for Young People presents Jacqueline Wood at 3:00 p.m. at Johnston Middle School, Houston, TX. Jacqueline Woodson is an award-winning author and the U.S. Young People?s Poet Laureate. She will read from her books, talk about her writing, and answer questions from the audience.

Read More | From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson 1996 Awardee |
I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson 1995 Awardee |
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson 2013 Awardee


San Jose Mercury News: Los Gatos: Author’s Visit

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Author Francisco Jimenez was so well-received by Los Gatos High School students when he came to speak last month that he’s going to be invited back next year. During his Los Gatos visit, Jimenez said his parents had no choice but to work in the fields because they couldn’t read or write. ‘All work is noble,’ he said, 'but education gives you choices.

Read More | The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child by Francisco Jimenez 1998 Awardee


Flashback Friday: Esperanza Rising

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Some may think that children?s books and historical fiction wouldn?t blend well. However, it?s been proven that these two genres complement each other really well in Pam Munoz Ryan?s Esperanza Rising, which was published by Scholastic in 2000.

Read More | Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan 2001 Awardee


Bibliophiles Review: Inside Out and Back Again

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Today we?re cracking into a very special historical fiction novel called Inside Out and Back Again, by Thannha Lai. Everyone has experienced being new; even though H?s alienation and otherness are not something everyone may know first hand. Thanhha Lai, the author, again must have been drawing on her own experiences. She, too, was displaced from Vietnam to the southern United States. She writes with great skill about how H is bullied and how she reacts to her bully.

Read More | Inside Out and Back Again by Thannha Lai 2012 Awardee


Special Feature

Book Highlight: Part 4

The fourth installment of our eight part series on the 2015 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Ceremony features the introduction given by Beth McGowan for Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914, written by John Hendrix and published by Henry Abrams Books for young readers, named an Honor Book in the Books for Younger Children.

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Introduction by Beth McGowan, Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards Committee member

Our children are being taught through the media that war is an exciting adventure in which killing and dying are easy clean and morally right because the other side is evil. As this is fantasy, children don?t learn about the awful physical realities of war: nor about the humanity of others. Without a counter narrative, that false vision of war will remain hegemonic. So sensitive adults must teach children EARLY about war and its realities. But how, how do we teach the realities of war to young children without terrifying them and leaving them hopeless and frightened?

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One way of accomplishing this task is to read to John Hendrix?s Shooting at the Stars: the Christmas Truce of 1914 published by Henry Abrams Books for young readers. Hendrix introduces the war briefly in front matter and then moves into his narrative, told in the form of a letter from Charlie, a young British man fighting in the trenches, to his mother. The letter format allows the reader to share an intimate sense of what trench warfare meant, describing the mud, the food, the damp and the cold: while the illustrations show us the trenches and no man?s land. When Charlie speaks to his mother of the Christmas truce, we understand how courageous it was for German soldiers to initiate a truce, how courageous it was of the English to accept one. We feel amazed that the men on each side reached out to each other to stop the killing, share food, bury the dead, and play a game of soccer. The illustrations show how the blighted landscape of war becomes less bleak when lit by the good will truce represented in delicate Christmas trees. The lovely landscape of basic human contact is interrupted by bureaucratic authority: a general who tells the men to get back to fighting. And the healing images of the truce contrast starkly to the portrait of the general who orders the soldiers back to fighting. As one of my colleagues remarked, looking at that portrait, one almost feels the spit fly off the page. But the men, though they obey the general, refuse to shoot at the men with whom they have just shared a moment, but shoot only at the stars ? thus the title.

The book leaves us sorrowful, upset. We wish as the men did, that they did not have to go back to fighting. We wish as they did, that they could just go home. We want it all to stop. And we need our children to feel this sorrow, this upset, if war is to become a thing of the past. For all these reasons, we are happy to honor John Hendrix and Abrams Books for young readers for the book Shooting at the Stars.

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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.

Click here to read more about the 2015 Awards. http://www.janeaddamspeace.org/jacba/2015ceremony.shtml

This concludes our fourth installment of the eight part series of the 2015 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Winners and Honorees.

Refugee Crisis Writing Workshop Guide

Check out Debby Levy’s new Writing Workshop Guide for my book, The Year of Goodbyes. Created for educators and book people, Levy’s workshop detailed the ways they use her “The Year of Goodbyes” as part of their efforts to get young people thinking and writing about the human beings behind every refugee “crisis.”

Read More | We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song written by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton 2014 Awardee


New Documentary Project Inspired By Popular 1930’s Travel Guide Series For African Americans

Co-produced by Calvin A. Ramsey, author of the award winning book Ruth and the Green Book, and Becky Wible Searles Director and Professor of Animation at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Atlanta, Ga, The Green Book Chronicles is currently in production as a one hour documentary. The live interviews, motion media, and animation segments in the film explores a range of personal experiences while traveling throughout both the United States and abroad before the Civil Rights Act became law in 1964. Victor Green is celebrated for transforming and enriching the lives of African Americans through travel.

Read More | Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend written by Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Bettye Stroud, illustrated by John Holyfield, 2012 Awardee
Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey with Gwen Strauss and illustrated by Floyd Cooper 2011 Awardee


Best graphic novels, children’s and young adult books of 2015

“Mixed Me!” by Taye Diggs and Shane W. Evans (Feiwel & Friends). An introduction to the conversation about multicultural identity for kids and parents, “Mixed Me!” is a must-have.

Read More | We March written and illustrated by Shane W. Evans 2013 Awardee


Dec. 15 is Bill of Rights Day

“A Kid’s Guide to America’s Bill of Rights,” by Kathleen Krull.
Newly revised and updated, packed with anecdotes, sidebars, case studies, suggestions for further reading, and humorous illustrations, Kathleen Krull’s introduction to the Bill of Rights brings an important topic vividly to life for young readers.

Read More | Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, written by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Yuyi Morales 2004 Awardee
Wilma Unlimited written by Kathleen Krull 1997 Awardee


The Year in Black Art: January 2015

“Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews” a children’s book about Benny Andrews, the rural Georgia-born artist who spent his career in New York painting and standing up for the rights of artists of color, is published on Jan. 6.

Read More | Delivering Justice: W. W. Law and the Fight for Civil Rights, written by Jim Haskins, illustrated by Benny Andrews 2006 Awardee


We Need Diverse Books: Tim Tingle

As an elementary-aged student, I had no concept that most Americans believed that all Indians were savages. I did not understand why my grandmother made all forty-two of her grandchildren promise never to tell even our closest friends that we were Indian. I never associated this with her fear that we would be considered savage, or that we might be punished for being American Indian. As I grew older, I heard stories of how she had suffered severe punishment at Goodland Academy, an Indian Boarding school, for speaking the Choctaw language.

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


Special Feature

Book Highlight: Part 3

The third installment of our eight part series on the 2015 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Ceremony features the introduction given by Susan Freiss for The Girl From the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement, written by Teri Kanefield and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, named the winner in the Books for Older Readers category.

Introduction by Susan Freiss, Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards Committee member

As a part of this year’s award ceremony on October 16 at UN Plaza, New York City, I had the opportunity to introduce Teri Kanefield author of The Girl From the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement and to present her with the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award for the 2015 winning book for older readers. We were deeply honored to have Barbara Rose’s sister, Joan, and her daughter, Terry, with us for the event as well. Teri conveyed, with Joan and Terry’s heartfelt agreement, how glad Barbara, a school librarian herself, would have been to know that her story was the winner of a children’s book award on the themes of peace and social justice. We are grateful to Teri for bringing forward Barbara’s little known story so engagingly and accessibly for middle grade and older children—really for all of us.

Barbara Rose Johns was a 15 year old black high schooler in rural Virginia in 1950 when attending class in tar paper leaky roofed “temporary” schools, while white students went to their well appointed brick school, felt just plain unfair. Barbara was blessed with a favorite teacher who received Barbara’s complaints and asked her what she, Barbara, could do about it? She had been exposed to wide reading and forthright family members who aided in her seeing with clarity the injustice of white supremacy. And Barbara was a girl who could freely imagine and deeply pray. Still, all these factors accounted for, Barbara was an extraordinary young woman in her own right…extraordinary in her vision, her leadership, and her firm resolve. Barbara conceived of and organized a peaceful boycott of the whole black student body. This action lead ultimately to the NAACP taking the case to the Supreme Court, asking for not better and equal facilities but for full integration as a part of Brown vs Board of Education in 1954.

Yes, 15 year old Barbara’s actions contributed directly to the historic end of segregation in US schools,and had terrible repercussions for Barbara, her family, and her community as the white community struck back in an effort to maintain the status quo—effort that included cross burning, intimidation, threats, likely arson, and ultimately closing all public schools in the county for 5 years in defiance of the Supreme Court’s order to integrate.

Teri Kanefield has brought forward an extraordinary and important young black woman leader’s story, someone even Civil Rights historians had largely ignored, someone whose story longed to be told. She began researching Barbara’s life 14 years ago and, with persistence, saw the story to publication. Through photos capturing the time and place and carefully considered writing about Barbara and her family’s background, events leading up to and including the walkout, and the repercussions of the action, Teri brings us Barbara Rose Johns’ quiet boldness, a boldness that so clearly invites and challenges young people today —in fact, all of us— to imagine and follow through with the question “what can I do?” For this we are immensely grateful.

Teri Kanefield’s Acceptance Speech

I’d like to begin by thanking the Jane Addams Peace Association and the members of the awards committee for this honor.

I also have a special thanks to give today to Barbara’s sister, Joan, and her daughter Terry, who are here in the audience.

Thank you for trusting me to tell your family’s story.

In the year 2000, I stumbled on the story of Barbara Johns while reading the history of Brown v. Board of Education, the case that desegregated schools in America.

I thought, this is amazing. A sixteen-year-old girl basically started the American civil rights movement. Four years before Rosa Parks caught the attention of the nation, this young girl led a walkout of her high school. It was the first time in American history that nonviolent protest had been used to bring about racial equality.

To my amazement, nobody I knew had ever heard of Barbara Johns. I talked to a professor who taught African American history at a local community college. She had never heard of Barbara Johns. I talked to a law school classmate who considered himself an expert in civil rights, and he had never heard of Barbara Johns.

A lot has happened in the past fifteen years. The Moton Museum in Farmville opened its doors and began working to get the word out. There is a monument on the capitol grounds in Richmond honoring Barbara and her classmates.

You’re probably thinking, “She started writing this book fifteen years ago? What is she, in the slow group?”

I’ll say this about the fifteen years it took to get to this moment: I’ve never had writer’s block. I have, however, had a lot of publisher’s block. After many years, my manuscript finally hit the desk of Howard Reeves at Abrams?whose name you already heard a few times today. He was the editor who didn’t say no. The format of this book, the photographs and layout, was his creative vision.

Now the year is 2015, and people have heard of Barbara Johns. In the spring I was approached by the Travel Channel. They were covering the story of the monument honoring Barbara Johns and they wanted to interview me for their program.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from the Smithsonian Museum, asking if I could help them track down some photographs of Barbara for a new exhibit.

So Barbara Johns made it to the Smithsonian.

I’d like to conclude by mentioning that Barbara was a civil rights leader, a lover of books, and later in life, she became a school librarian.

I think if Barbara could speak to us now, she’d say if there is any award she’d most like to have associated with her story, it would be a children’s book award in the name of Jane Addams for a book that promotes peace and social justice.

A Merry and Peaceful Holiday season to all! We will be taking a break, and shall return the first week of January 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.

Click here to read more about the 2015 Awards. http://www.janeaddamspeace.org/jacba/2015ceremony.shtml

This concludes our second installment of the eight part series of the 2015 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Winners and Honorees.



© 2015 Jane Addams Peace Association

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