Brian Pinkney inspires, Joseph Bruchac true to oral tradition, Choctaw storyteller & author Tim Tingle featured JACBA Newsletter 1Apr2016

‘Brothers of the Buffalo’: The Red River War

Brothers of the Buffalo: A Novel of the Red River War by Joseph Bruchac follows two young men, one a Cheyenne warrior, the other a former Black slave, as their paths repeatedly converge over a three-year period in the early 1870s.

Bruchac says he wanted to write about this particular moment in history because he had heard stories about it from his friend Lance Hanson, a Cheyenne poet and a member of the Dog Soldier Society, and many others, whom he describes as the inheritors of these events.

I found that there are perspectives that are not really reflected in those writings—the Native perspective of what happened, as well as the perspective of the men who were the Buffalo Soldiers, former slaves engaged in a campaign that was basically enslaving, or putting into something close to slavery, the Native population of the Southern Plains, because that’s what the chaining of the Native people to the reservation communities truly was at its height,“ Bruchac told ICTMN.

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The Heart of a Chief written by Joseph Bruchac 1999 Awardee


National Book Awards Conversation Dives Deep Into Emotions

Water – blood-chilling 47-degree octopus tank water or the deepest place in the ocean – was the start of a riveting conversation. Both Sy Montgomery’s "The Soul of an Octopus” and Neal Shusterman’s “Challenger Deep” begin with water, but quickly dive into emotional soul-searching topics.

Montgomery listed the great anthropologists Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Biruté Galdikas as her heroines and approaches her work with the same care for the natural world.

[She has a] new book coming out this year. Montgomery will delve into the world of the great white shark.

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


Coleen Salley Storytelling Session to feature Tim Tingle April 6

The 2016 Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival will feature Tim Tingle, an Oklahoma Choctaw and award-winning author and storyteller.

Tingle’s first children’s book, Crossing Bok Chitto, garnered more than 20 state and national awards, and was an Editor’s Choice in the New York Times Book Review.

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


Children’s book illustrator, author Brian Pinkney visits Springfield elementary schools

In a fast-paced, interactive presentation March 17, the acclaimed artist, illustrator and author of children’s books, explained how ideas come to him and the method behind his scratchboard art style.

Pinkney, seeking comments from the students about themselves, spoke about where his inspiration came from for various books, some of his well-known subjects, and how nonviolent protest against race discrimination during the civil rights movement connects with some of his works.

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

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


Our first live Cut &Paste podcast event explores storytelling through illustration

We recently invited three prominent local illustrators to tell stories about drawing for a living, in the first live recording of our Cut &Paste arts and culture podcast.

Washington University professor John Hendrix and two of his former students talk about the ups and downs of their profession.

Emerging themes included: persistence, patience and the fact that almost every failure has a funny side.

Listen at the link.

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Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914 by John Hendrix 2015 Awardee


Maine Observer: Beyond aficionado: Cubans adore baseball by Phillip Hoose

Image Credit

I couldn’t help but think of this, and many other youth games I saw and played in as I heard Presidents Obama and Castro talk of the future. My greatest hope is that 10 years from now these young Cuban ballplayers, lean, confident, healthy and engaged, won’t be bent over smartphones all day. Viva Cuba!

Phillip Hoose of Portland is the author of 11 books and winner of a National Book Award for “Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice.”

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Claudette Colvin by Phillip Hoose 2010 Awardee


NYFA Hall of Fame to Induct James Casebere, Anna Deavere Smith, Faith Ringgold &Zhou Long

The New York Foundation for the Arts honorees are James Casebere, Faith Ringgold, Anna Deavere Smith, and Zhou Long.

The NYFA Hall of Fame recognizes extraordinary artists, arts patrons and organizations who through their artistic vision and uncompromising integrity represent the best that NYFA has to offer.

Artist, writer and activist Faith Ringgold has received more than 75 awards, fellowships, citations and honors, including a NYFA Fellowship for Painting in 1988, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship for painting, two National Endowment for the Arts Awards, and 23 honorary doctorates. Best known for her painted story quilts, her works are in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

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


Bond and Ahlberg books announced at PRH showcase

At the Penguin Random House Children’s showcase, PRH announced their reissuing a series of classic books for teens. The series, titled ‘The Originals’, will start with five books in August, including Z is for Zachariah by Robert C O’Brien.

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Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien 1976 Awardee


Book Highlight: Part 6

The sixth installment of our eight part series on the 2015 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Ceremony features the introduction given by Sonja Cherry Paul for Revolution, written by Deborah Wiles, published by Scholastic Press, named an Honor Book in the Books for Older Children.

Introduction by Sonja

With Revolution, Deborah Wiles provides a unique format for young readers – one that seamlessly blends fiction and non-fiction to vividly present the complexity and context of one of the most tumultuous times in the history of the United States. Using photographs, quotes, speeches, and other primary sources, Wiles documents the Civil Rights Movement and provides a comprehensive foundation of the political, economic, and social climate for African-Americans and Whites during the 1960’s. These stunning and provocative documents are interspersed throughout the book providing readers with the historical context for the complex and compelling fictional story that Wiles crafts.

It is the summer of 1964 in Greenwood, Mississippi and 12-year-old Sunny is head-over-heels for the Beatles. She and her best friend send messages to each other between their neighboring houses using a bucket and a pulley rope. They name a tree “George”, and it is their special place to meet and contemplate life. And life is complicated for Sunny. Her mother has left and her father has remarried. Her stepmother has a teenaged son, Gillette, and a young daughter. Meemaw, Uncle Parnell, and Uncle Vivian round out Sunny’s immediate family and play significant roles in her daily life.

When Sunny and Gillette are caught sneaking into the town’s swimming pool one night, they also cross paths with Raymond, a 15-year-old African–American boy. Their paths continue to cross throughout the novel, and it is Raymond who illuminates for Sunny the true meaning of separate and unequal. The activists that come to Greenwood that summer, who are referred to as the “invaders” by the White townspeople, inspire Raymond. He watches the adults around him organize and strategize for the movement and is compelled to action, despite his age. Although the majority of the novel is told from Sunny’s point of view, Raymond’s perspective is crucial. It is through Raymond’s eyes and heart that readers feel the frustration, anger, and fear of African-Americans in the town – those who are afraid to take action, those who did, and the consequences for all.

Revolution is not a book that can be read passively; readers become researchers pouring through primary sources to put the pieces of a troubling puzzle together while being completely immersed in the lives of the characters. This multigenre approach brings the complexity of the civil rights movement directly to young readers’ fingertips and extends their understanding well beyond the oversimplified, uncontroversial narratives that attempt to obscure the realities of racism and White resistance. Revolution underscores the work and circumstances of individuals, activists, and groups such as Ella Baker, Medgar Evers, Bob Moses, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee as well as many others presented within the pages of this book. Readers discover how the act of voting was the fuel that propelled the movement.

Recently, issues of race and racism have been part of the national conversation due to numerous events that mirror those that occurred during the civil rights movements. Revolution positions readers to better understand our collective past and to make use of lessons learned as a mobilizing force to battle racism and discrimination today.

Revolution is published by Scholastic Press and it is my great pleasure to present the Jane Addams Children’s Book Honor Award in the category of Books for Older Children to author, Deborah Wiles.

Remarks by Deborah Wiles

Used with permission

Thank you so much. I am deeply honored to be here.

Before I knew there was a Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, I knew there was a Jane Addams. I knew about Hull House. As a child, I had big dreams, and I wanted to do something useful in the world.

My first books were published in 2001, and I became the first children’s writer-in-residence at James Thurber’s childhood home in Columbus, Ohio. There was a work element attached to the residency, and – partly because I had admired Jane Addams for so long – I asked to work at the Southside Settlement House, teaching personal narrative writing to young people, their parents and caregivers, and the staff at Southside.

This was my first experience teaching in a settlement house. It connected me to the days of my teenaged life when my big dreams took drastic left turns and I became the mother of two small children, living in an old clunker of a car, and collecting bottles on the side of the road to return for the deposit, so I could buy milk for the baby.

There would be many years, many injustices, and many helping hands across many different cultures before I could turn my life around, give my children a safe and stable home, and turn to writing stories about the children who have big dreams and need safety, stability, forgiveness, understanding, compassion, and love.

Which, as we all know… is all children. All shapes, sizes, colors, persuasions, abilities, and lives. Including Sunny and Gillette and Raymond in REVOLUTION.

Thank you to the Jane Addams Book Committee for recognizing
REVOLUTION, and thank you to Jane Addams herself, who was such an amazing pioneer of social justice in America.

I write about social justice as a way to understand what it is… and isn’t. As a way to come to terms with my life… and to challenge the world. As a way to have a voice in offering young readers – and their grown-ups – another way to look at their lives and the lives of others.

Writing is my activism. I write about social justice as a path to peace.

REVOLUTION – which is book two of a trilogy of novels about the 1960s for young readers (COUNTDOWN is book one) – is my attempt to understand the summer of 1964 – Freedom Summer – in the United States, and the civil rights movement, through the eyes of the children who lived it. I was one of those children, and I didn’t understand what was happening in my world. It scared me. And it excited me, too – I could feel the change that was coming, and I knew it was good.

I wanted children to see this world, taste it, touch it, feel it, hear it, and so I created a documentary novel – along with COUNTDOWN, the first of its kind – with photographs, song lyrics, newspaper clippings, poetry, advertisements, propaganda, and other ephemera of the time, in scrapbook sections that are interspersed within the narrative.

I wrote four opinionated biographies of the time – LBJ, Bob Moses (the architect of Freedom Summer), Dorothy Height and Polly Cowan (the architects of Wednesdays In Mississippi), and Cassius Clay, who became Muhammad Ali.

This mixing of fiction, non-fiction, and biography was a brand-new way of delivering story to young readers, and I’d like to thank my publisher, Scholastic; David Levithan, my editor; and Phil Falco, designer, for taking the risk with me to publish something new and different and ground-breaking, to reach young people, to ask them to think critically about their history, and to invite them to become part of the work ahead, part of the change we want to see in the world.

It is so gratifying to have REVOLUTION recognized by the Jane Addams Peace Association and Book Award Committee. My fondest goal is to live up to the ideal that Jane Addams herself set, for “faith in new possibilities and the courage to advocate for them.”

This concludes our sixth installment of the eight 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.

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