Books about Refugees for Kids & Adults #JACBA Newsletter 17Mar2017

16 Books about Refugees for Kids & Adults

For anyone trying to understand what it feels like to be driven from your home or your country, books-many first-person accounts, written by refugees themselves-are a good first step toward insight.


Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Vietnam to Alabama is a difficult journey, and Ha’s story (which echoes the author’s life) chronicles it in beautiful free verse. Easy to read even for a reluctant reader, these poems are a good way into one 10-year-old girl’s experience as a refugee.

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Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai 2012 Awardee


Getting to Know the Man of the Moment

Teri Kanefield, nonfiction author of such fine books as The Girl from the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement (2014) … continues her well-researched book, illustrated with archival images, with a brisk account of the life Hamilton had led, from his 1755 birth and harsh boyhood in the Caribbean island of Nevis and on to his rise to becoming General George Washington’s indispensible aide during the Revolutionary War. Throughout, Ms. Kanefield includes samples of Hamilton’s writing, including his poetry.

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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


Minneapolis writer Louise Erdrich finalist for prestigious $15,000 PEN/Faulkner award

The finalists for the prestigious PEN/Faulkner literary award were announced this morning. MInneapolis writer Louise Erdrich’s novel, “LaRose,” is among the finalists.

Louise Erdrich for LAROSE. This novel, the third in Erdrich’s Justice trilogy, is also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle fiction prize, which will be announced later this month.

Four of the five finalists are people of color, and two of the five are immigrants to the United States. The judges said, in a press statement, “Taken together, the five finalists represent something worth reiterating today: that American fiction cannot be defined or contained by any particular border, wall or edit.”

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The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich 2000 Awardee


The perfect children’s book for kids who won’t be quiet

Carmen Agra Deedy’s The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! (Scholastic, ages 4-7) is perfect for a rowdy read-aloud. This tale of a bold gallito – a rooster – who brings music back to a tiny village will stir up plenty of audience giggles and participation.

Whether it’s a spirited child or a determined teen, every family has its own noisy rooster: insistent, persistent, exasperating at times, and with a song that must be sung – and should be heard.

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The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark written by Carmen Agra Deedy 2001 Awardee


13 Empowering Children’s Books For Young Readers To Enjoy On ‘A Day Without A Woman’

… if you’re trying to explain [‘A Day Without A Woman’] to a little one, you might want to share these empowering children’s books with young readers on A Day Without a Woman. Featuring stories about activism, social justice, and political reform, these picture books will help readers, young and old, understand what it means to make a difference.

‘Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation’ by Duncan Tonatiuh

Sylvia and her family organized the Hispanic community to take a stand against segregated education, and their bravery helped change the history of California.

‘Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Markers’ Strike of 1909’ by Michelle Markel

Beautifully illustrated and powerfully written, this illustrated biography depicts exactly how hard some people are willing to work to bring about change.

‘Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer’ by Carole Boston Weatherford

Voice of Freedom celebrates her life and accomplishments in vibrant collages and beautifully lyrical text, while reminding readers that with hope and determination, real change can happen.

‘I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark’ by Debbie Levy

Using the inspirational judge’s own written dissents, this book explores the importance of arguing against unfairness and inequality and proves that when you stand up for what’s right, justice can prevail.

‘The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist’ by Cynthia Levinson

A touching story about bravery, it’s the perfect read for kids who want to participate in the next protest with you.

‘Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers’ by Sarah Warren

Told in sparing prose alongside breathtaking watercolor and pastel paintings, this book sends a powerful message about hope and the possibility for change.

‘Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965’ by Jonah Winter

Compelling and empowering, Lillian’s Right to Vote is an wonderful picture book that will make kids fall in love with history and social justice.

‘We March’ by Shane W. Evans

From the first steps at the Washington Monument to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, We March celebrates the civil rights contributions of the 1960s, and honors the continued efforts of today.

‘We Came to America’ by Faith Ringgold

A beautiful collection of immigration stories, Faith Ringgold’s We Came to America celebrates the diversity that makes the United States so amazing.

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Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and her family’s fight for desegregation, written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh 2015 Awardee

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909, written by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet 2014 Awardee

Birmingham, 1963 by Carole Boston Weatherford 2008 Awardee

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

We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March written by Cynthia Levinson 2013 Awardee

Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers, written by Sarah Warren and illustrated by Robert Casilla 2013 Awardee

Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by Jonah Winter 2016 Awardee

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

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


Noted Illustrator E. B. Lewis Visits YMCA Preschoolers

E.B. Lewis, an award-winning illustrator of more than 70 children books, spoke to 57 children from the YMCA’s preschool program. The children, aged three to five, were captivated by the speaker’s explanation of how books are made, how he illustrates them, and the stories they contain.

Lewis described three books to the young audience, including Preaching to the Chickens, a Japanese work about kindness; and the children’s literature classic, The Other Side. He showed some of the original paintings that are in these volumes and described the process of making a painting and a book.

Before the program began, Lewis noted that his intention is to use books as an antidote to some of society’s bigotry, hatred, and conflicts.

“A common thread in my work is compassion,” said Lewis. “I hope to help kids understand each other and the world they live in.”

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Each Kindness written by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis 2013 Awardee

Night Boat to Freedom, written by Margot Theis Raven with pictures by E. B. Lewis 2007 Awardee


Caldecott Medal winner Javaka Steptoe likens his writing to music

Speaking of style, what is your current writing style and how would you define it?
I would describe it as music. When you write a story, you’re creating a tone, you’re creating rhythm, you’re creating nuance with the way you tell it, and there’s music to that. It can be jazz music, it can be classical music, it could be hip-hop, it could be anything. But, I think of the way I write music. Also, I think about movies and theme music and how the music of the story is either creating excitement, or tension, or whatever it is that they want you to feel at that moment.

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Hot Day on Abbott Avenue by Karen English, with collage art of Javaka Steptoe 2005 Awardee


NSU Symposium on the American Indian – April 10-15

The Northeastern State University Center for Tribal Studies has announced its 45th Annual Symposium on the American Indian will be April 10-15 in the University Center on the Tahlequah campus. This symposium’s theme is “Indian Givers: Indigenous Inspirations,” and the event will include the return of the NSU Powwow.

Keynote speakers presenting at the symposium include Tim Tingle (Choctaw), author and storyteller, and more.

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Crossing Bok Chitto: told in written form by nationally recognized Choctaw storyteller, Tim Tingle 2007 Awardee


At 2017 Convocation, TC Will Honor Jacqueline Woodson, Melissa Fleming, Madhav Chavan and Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Teachers College will award its Medal for Distinguished Service – the highest honor it bestows – to a National Book Award-winning author; a global advocate for refugee rights and services; one of India’s leading education entrepreneurs; and a world-renowned authority on African-American history.

One of the four medalists, each of whom will address TC’s graduating students, is Jacqueline Woodson, author of the memoir Brown Girl Dreaming and the young adult novel Feathers, about the only white student at an otherwise all-black school.

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Each Kindness written by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis 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

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.

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