Children’s Immigration Story Project and Edwidge Danticat: Young Americans’ Dreams Deferred #JACBA Newsletter 22Sept2017

Save the Date!

October 20, 2017 2:30PM
Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Ceremony


Children’s Immigration Story Project aims to ease anxieties

Even before Drumpf’s repeal of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) added to the anxiety, Lerner and fellow RISE members Larry Bayer, Jaime Pullen and more, decided to take action to both comfort kids while also inspiring compassion in others. Through the RISE Children’s Immigration Story Project, the group has been donating a bundle of specially chosen children’s books on the topic to several neighborhood locations.

“With DACA being repealed … it’s a time that’s so anxiety-laden and scary for kids that they do need a way to soothe themselves,” said Bayer. He also hopes that through reading the books, others will “Have some empathy for what people are going through now.”

Welcoming immigrants and our country’s immigrant history are “a fundamental value that we need to preserve,” said Pullen.

Lerner picked the six books and so far RISE has donated them to the library, Sumner school, ABCD Head Start, Casserly House and more. The books include:“Mama’s Nightingale,” by Edwidge Danticat; “We Came to America,” by Faith Ringold; and more.

“Mama’s Nightingale” addresses the question: “What do you do if your government says you’re not legal? … And how do you explain that to young children,” said Lerner.

“This is a really good project to let children know about immigration,” said Lechuga. “We are diverse in the U.S.”

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

Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation written by Edwidge Danticat, illustrated by Leslie Staub 2016 Awardee

DACA, Hurricane Irma, and Young Americans’ Dreams Deferred By Edwidge Danticat

Monica’s is one of eight hundred thousand stories, eight hundred thousand dreams deferred, if not completely destroyed. These dreams have already been nurtured by the Dreamers themselves, as well as by this country, where many have gotten their primary, secondary, and even university educations. For those of us who know Dreamers, who live with or near them, who work with them, who love them, it’s puzzling that their value to this country is being so casually discarded. The Dreamers I know have the drive of pioneers. Their determination is born out of urgency. They can’t, as Monica has said, take for granted their right to be here. They earn it every day.

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An Exhibition About Revolution that Keeps Faith with Ringgold

An Exhibition About Revolution that Keeps Faith with Ringgold
It is a great irony that the Faith Ringgold’s first public commission was effectively imprisoned for over 40 years, but this situation raises valuable questions regarding our notions of the public and how that public is served.

But fighting for freedom often comes with having the freedom to do so in the first place, and not everyone is equally free. This is a point that Faith Ringgold and We Wanted a Revolution both make ardently clear: we cannot continue to whitewash the histories of those women who society has systemically failed. Rather we need to acknowledge those failures and see the long road out, towards a better, more empathetic future. Ringgold’s painting still offers us a window to that world; don’t send it back unseen.

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Writing Stories For Refuge, Home & Social Justice: A Conversation With YA Novelist Mitali Perkins

Rickshaw Girl (2008), in which Naima challenges the traditional role of women in her village in Bangladesh so that she can help her struggling family. (Rickshaw Girl is now a particular favorite of my five and a half-year-old daughter!) I love the way she writes the female characters; they are always very confident and strong, yet deeply flawed.

Writing You Bring the Distant Near felt like offering up excerpts from my teen diary to my readers, and I know the teenaged Mitali would have been mortified at the sharing of our secrets.

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

Contenders for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature

Mitali Perkins, “You Bring the Distant Near”
Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers / Macmillan

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Family visits to Cuba inspired girl to become a poet by WaPo

When she was a little girl, Margarita Engle spent her summers in Cuba, where she says she fell in love with nature.

“I fell in love with Cuba, and I never imagined that we wouldn’t be able to go back,” Engle said. “I wanted to feel free to love two countries even though history said, ‘No, you have to choose.’ ”

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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

Dolores Huerta film is a revealing, engaging tribute

Dolores Huerta was a fierce fighter for the United Farm Workers, ascending to a civil rights leadership role, then seizing seemingly impossible victories against agriculture industry leaders and their political allies.

Peter Bratt’s documentary “Dolores” gives equal focus to some lesser-known battles, as the living legend stood up to patriarchy, even within the UFW group she co-founded. Like Cesar Chavez, she was a hero to the labor movement. But because she is a woman, there was an amplified cost.

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

Legendary Chicana Organizer Betita Martínez Wrote a Perfect Parody for the Drumpf Era-in 1967

In 1967, she wrote “The Ins and The Outs,” whose satirical bite resonates with the current political moment. There’s a President Orange whose Attorney General is suitably retitled General Attorney, a proposal to legalize marijuana, and a whiff of fascism in the air. She wrote the piece in the wake of Lyndon Johnson’s escalation of the war in Vietnam, roundup of thousands of African Americans during urban rebellions from Harlem to Watts, and a militant protest movement that in effect made the president a prisoner in the White House.

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Viva la Raza! written by Elizabeth Sutherland Martinez and Enriqueta Longeaux y Vasquez, 1974 Awardee

Learning about writing from a pro

Carmen Agra Deedy, author of 11 children’s books, talked to students at Lindley Elementary school Thursday. Deedy shared how important it is for writers to write down ideas and what is involved in writing a book. Deedy was in town for the Study Connection’s Annual Celebration and Recognition Breakfast.

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

Learning peace, justice through children’s books at Orange libraries

The Traprock Center for Peace and Justice in Greenfield awarded $1,000 to the Friends of the Orange Public Libraries this summer to purchase fiction and nonfiction books for children on subjects including world peace, empathy, friendship, diversity, tolerance, community, and humans’ place in the natural environment.

On Sept. 23, the library will also host a kite-making workshop for children 5 and older and their families at the Wheeler Memorial Library. The workshop will begin with Sullivan-Flynn reading one of the books purchased with the Traprock Center’s gift, Bruce Edward Hall’s “Henry and the Kite Dragon.” The workshop is made possible by the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice and is free and open to the public.

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Henry and the Kite Dragon, by Bruce Edward Hall, with paintings of William Low 2005 Awardee

‘Immigrant Kids’ rings true in 2017

Immigrant Kids by Russell Freedman was written in 1995 and was published by Scott Foresman Publishing. It deals with the obvious entitled topic of immigration into America, particularly that of children in the early 1900s. It is a good place to start when trying to understand this topic or relate it to our children. All American people or their ancestors were immigrants at one time or another.

Recognizing the complete immigration pattern starting with the Native American diaspora from Asia over the Bering Strait’s land bridge (and/or other potential theories on their original arrival) some 12,000 years ago, right up to the current discourse on the challenges faced by Mexican and any Arab based country’s people wishing to immigrate into The United States is really crucial for good citizenship and informed decision making.

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We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler by Russell Freedman 2017 Awardee

Freedom Walkers by Russell Freedman 2007 Awardee

Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor by Russell Freedman 1995 Awardee

Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery by Russell Freedman 1994 Awardee

Collecting a History

Arturo Schomburg is celebrated in a glorious picture book: Schomburg: The Man Who Built A Library by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Eric Velasquez.

On every page, Eric Velasquez’s illustrations brings the man, and his discoveries of great people with African heritage to life. Weatherford includes just a hint of the depth of Schomburg’s discoveries, because, after all this is a book for children. Black heros, poet Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass and Haitian revolutionary, Touissant Louverture are properly memorialized with art and discussion.

As you might have guessed from the title, Schomburg’s collection is now a library in Harlem, NYC. The richness and succinctness of Weatherford’s prose and Valesquez’s vibrant art indicate to readers how much more there is to black history if they only started digging for themselves.

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Birmingham, 1963 by Carole Boston Weatherford 2008 Awardee

New Shoes by Susan Lynn Meyer, illustrated by Eric Velasquez 2016 Awardee

Twenty-Five must-read books this fall

Sit, Deborah Ellis (Groundwood) Deborah Ellis has once again come up with a wonderful story that makes a powerful statement about choices and the different lives that children lead. The conceit is looking at different seated children – she looks at nine around the world – and what their situations might be (a girl in Uzbekistan and a refugee smuggler; a young boy in solitary as a young offender; the story of a child labourer, etc.). (Oct. 1)

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The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis 2005 Awardee

The Breadwinner Trilogy, three books by Deborah Ellis 2004 Awardee

Parvana’s Journey by Deborah Ellis 2003 Awardee

The Breadwinner

The premise recalls Mulan but The Breadwinner is no Disney trinket. The animated film based on Canadian author Deborah Ellis’s book grapples with violence and other abuses inflicted on women by the Taliban, ultimately finding hope in an 11-year-old girl’s strength and resilience.

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Ellis praises Breadwinner film

“It’s an incredibly beautiful film, they did incredible work on it,” Ellis said. “It’s not always an easy film because the subject matter is difficult, of course, but it’s also a film that gives you hope for people’s courage and strength and their ability to resist tyranny and come through something like that and go on to be kind to one another.”

Ellis expects the movie to boost the book’s already immense popularity around the world, which will help spread its message.

“I hope that people will go see the film and talk about the impact of our decisions on people around the world. And that will lead us all to be able to make better decisions.”

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Picture books with social and emotional learning themes


Razia’s Ray Of Hope: One Girl’s Dream Of An Education written by Elizabeth Suneby and illustrated by Suana Verelst.

Story about a girl in a village in Afghanistan who dreams of having an education and convinces the men in her family to allow her to attend school.


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

A book about acts of kindness and friendship.

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Razia’s Ray of Hope: One Girl’s Dream of an Education written by Elizabeth Suneby and illustrated by Suana Verelst 2014 Awardee

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

A children’s picture book of “Hidden Figures” is coming

Publishers Weekly announced last week the completion of a book deal for a picture-book adaptation of the 2016 nonfiction title Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly. The book, aimed at children four to eight years old, is due out in January next year, co-written with Winifred Conkling and with illustrations by Laura Freeman.

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Sylvia & Aki by Winifred Conkling 2012 Awardee

11 Excellent Books In The Brand New Kirkus Collections

No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, artwork by R. Gregory Christie

“A stirring and thought-provoking account of an unsung figure in 20th-century American history. (author’s notes, source notes, bibliography, index) (Fictional biography. 12-18)” Lewis Michaux provided a venue for his fellow African-Americans to have access to their own history and philosophy at a time when the very idea was revolutionary.

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The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie 2016 Awardee

How “The Snowy Day” Became an Enduring Illustration of Diversity

Ezra Jack Keats’s The Snowy Day wasn’t the first children’s book to center around an African-American protagonist. But before it hit shelves in 1962, publishers had considered stories like his part of a niche market.

While diversity was the most discussed innovation in Keats’s book, it wasn’t the only one. The Snowy Day was also one of the first works of American children’s literature to be set in an urban, working-class home. “Up to that point, there were many picture books but they were in rural settings,” author Andrea Davis Pinkney told NPR last year, soon after publishing her own children’s book in homage to The Snowy Day. “And here was this book that made my life, my experience, valid. City streets, sidewalks, stoops-everything that I held so dear.”

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

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

Postal Service to Dedicate The Snowy Day Forever Stamps

First-Day-of-Issue dedication ceremony for The Snowy Day Forever Stamps that are based on a children’s book by Ezra Jack Keats. The event is free and open to the public. Please share the news using the hashtag #SnowyDayStamps.

The U.S. Postal Service showcases Ezra Jack Keats’ most beloved story, The Snowy Day. Written and illustrated by the celebrated children’s author, it was one of the first prominent 20th-century picture books centered on an African-American child. Sponsors include Award-winning children’s and young adult author Andrea Davis Pinkney.

Wed., Oct. 4 @ 10:30 a.m.
Brooklyn Public Library Central Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238

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The 2017 National Book Award Longlist For Fiction Is Your New Fall Reading List

A whopping 80 percent of the books on the 2017 National Book Award longlist for Fiction have women authors, and 70 percent come from writers of color. That’s a marked increase in diversity over last year’s longlist, which featured only four women writers and three writers of color among the 10 nominees.

Another Brooklyn author Jacqueline Woodson chaired this year’s panel of judges.

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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

The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award annually recognizes children’s books of literary and aesthetic excellence that effectively engage children in thinking about peace, social justice, global community, and equity for all people.

Read more about the 2017 Awards.

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