Jane Addams Winner Lynda Blackmon Lowery’s Civil Rights Story Speaks to Syrian Refugees #JACBA Newsletter 14Apr2017

April 28th, 8:00am CST: Video announcement and press release made public
Watch this space for a special announcement regarding the announcement of this year’s Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Winners and Honorees!

Civil rights marcher inspires Syrian refugee students in Bay Ridge

Inspiring figure: Lynda Blackmon Lowery, the youngest participant to march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., with Martin Luther King Jr., shared her story with students at Mary White Ovington elementary and middle school in Bay Ridge on March 27.

And her story was particularly inspiring to Syrian refugees at the school, said one student whose family fled that war torn country.

“The refugees need to live in a safe country just like Lynda Lowery,” said second-grader Rayan Alrahawan. “So I will fight for the refugees [so] the children can go to school and the families can go to work.”

Students drew parallels to Lowery’s struggles and their own as refugees – with one student emphasizing the importance of basic human rights in an illustrated letter to Lowery.

“Without freedom, I can’t do anything,” said second-grader Layan Nakawh, who is also a refugee. “In my country, Syria, the kids can not go to school. They have nothing. I hope that one day the children in Syria will have freedom like the children in America.”

It was a compelling visit that likely spurred future social justice leaders, said one educator.

“It was absolutely powerful,” said school librarian Alla Umanskaya. “She showed the kids you can make a change even though you’re children. History really came to our school. That’s how it felt.”

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Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery 2016 Awardee

Portsmouth’s Ona Judge is famous at last

Recently thrust into celebrity, One Judge was enslaved by George and Martha Washington. Ona quietly escaped the President’s house at Philadelphia in 1796 and lived as a seamstress in Greenland, New Hampshire. Washington described the runaway in a newspaper ad as “light mulatto girl, much freckled.” This illustration by Emily Arnold McCully appears on the cover of her children’s book, “The Escape of Oney Judge,” published by Scholastic Press.

The big news for Ona, and for American history, is the success of a runaway bestseller titled “Never Caught, The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge.” Author Erica Armstrong Dunbar, examines the first president’s use of “human property” from the slave’s point of view.

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The Escape of Oney Judge: Martha Washington’s Slave Finds Freedom written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully 2008 Awardee

2017 Audie Award nominees


Another Brooklyn: A Novel by Jacqueline Woodson, narrated by Robin Miles


Another Brooklyn: A Novel by Jacqueline Woodson, narrated by Robin Miles, published by HarperAudio

LaRose written and narrated by Louise Erdrich, published by HarperAudio


LaRose by Louise Erdrich, written and narrated by Louise Erdrich, published by HarperAudio


Voice of Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford, narrated by Janina Edwards, published by Dreamscape Media, LLC

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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 Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich 2000 Awardee

Birmingham, 1963 by Carole Boston Weatherford 2008 Awardee

Nonfiction picture books for young readers

Librarian Jordan Wright works in Youth Services, facilitating story hours and helping coordinate the music and movement program for toddlers.

A newer trend finds more picture books for early readers (K-2nd grade) that illuminate stories from history, topics in science or biographies of important pioneers and artists. Wright collected a number of nonfiction picture books for parents to consider, including the story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a 9-year-old who spent a week in prison when she was arrested while marching for civil rights in Birmingham, Ala.

“The Youngest Marcher” by Cynthia Levinson

This picture book tells the story of 9-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks, who, with 3,000 other children, protested, marched and were arrested in Birmingham, Ala., in May 1963. The simple sentences and illustration will appeal to younger children, but Hendricks’ unpleasant experience in Birmingham’s juvenile detention center might warrant reading this title with a parent.

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

Feast Your Eyes on #1000BlackGirlBooks Founder Marley Dias’ Extremely Colorful Book Cover

The book’s editor, Scholastic Vice President Andrea Davis Pinkney, has said that the book “will share [Marley’s] dynamic wisdom with readers everywhere.” And according to a release, the “accessible ‘keep-it-real’ guide” explores “activism, social justice, volunteerism, equity and inclusion.”

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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

Joyful Noise’ features music and dance to poetry-inspired student compositions

The concert is based on insect poems from Paul Fleischman’s book “Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices.” Inspired by Fleischman’s poetry, Haigh has composed a suite of five short duets for various instruments and voices. The math and music double major from Tacoma, Wash., (re)discovered the poems not in an English class – as one might suspect – but in Guion Science Center.

“I was inspired and encouraged by [biology professor] Linda Fink. She brought Paul Fleischman’s poetry book to my attention – which, incidentally, I had read years before in my primary education,” Haigh says. “Each poem is written in two voices and therefore is inherently musical with its rhythm and timing. I attempted to draw this to the fore by exploring the nature of duality within each piece.”

“This project is a true liberal arts collaboration between the arts, science and literature.”

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Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman 1998 Awardee

True story sheds light on effect of WWII-era internment camps in California

In Winifred Conkling’s “Sylvia & Aki,” the true story of Sylvia Mendez and Aki Munemitsu Nakauchi, two third-grade girls from Orange County who were thrust into a shame-filled time in California history during World War II.

“Sylvia & Aki” is essential reading for all Americans. Read it along with Duncan Tonatiuh’s magnificent picture book, “Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation.”

Volunteer John Knox reads “Sylvia & Aki” with (left to right) students Yoselin, Amy and Elbia in Laura Kirschner’s class at Hawthorne School in San Luis Obispo. Liz Krieger

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Sylvia & Aki by Winifred Conkling 2012 Awardee

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

Disagreement ≠ Disagreeable

Author Debbie Levy kindly agreed to an interview, and I asked her to share some part, perhaps a crucial step in the process of how she distilled the story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg becoming a Supreme Court Justice in a way that would interest kids. ​​​​​​​

Mary: One of the most powerful parts of the book for me comes near the end, when the character some might call Ruth’s nemesis comes into the story.

The illustration shows RBG arguing with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Then on the next page the two justices are parasailing together in France, then riding an elephant like BFF in India.

That inspires me. And challenges me. How can we get along better with people we disagree with?

​​​​​​​Debbie Levy: One lesson is to listen: to listen, really listen, to what people on the other side of an argument have to say.

Before his death last year, Justice Scalia was the Supreme Court justice with whom RBG most frequently, and deeply, disagreed. But they neither shouted past each other nor ignored each other. Instead, they shared their conflicting ideas.

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

Hollins Announces Winners of the 2017 Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature

Recipients include Debbie Levy for, “I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark.”

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

Gifting picture books to children is a good idea

Great books with no or few words and beautiful illustrations are fantastic for building vocabulary, love of books, writing and drawing skills. This is not too much praise, especially if they are Caldecott Award winners for illustrations.

The 2017 Caldecott Medal winner is “Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat” by Javaka Steptoe. In this inspirational book, a little boy sees art everywhere in New York City. It introduces Basquiat’s message that art “doesn’t always have to be perfect, neat, clean, or inside the lines” to be beautiful. The message to children is love your art.

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

Black Lives Matter: Using the arts to change the world

Legendary filmmaker Charles Burnett and award-winning children’s author Jewell Parker Rhodes speak to Eve Jackson about reflecting the black experience through their works.

Jewell Parker Rhodes’ books face up to real events like Hurricane Katrina and 9/11. Her next book “Ghost Boys” explores race and police brutality partly following the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

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Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes 2014 Awardee

The Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes 2011 Awardee

DePaul Humanities Center to honor Native American culture, art

The Humanities in Spaaaace!: The Moon
April 11, DePaul Student Center

Performances and lectures 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Traditional Native stories, including vocal and flute musical performances, will look at Nokomis – our grandmother, the moon – from the perspective of the American Indian tribal nations of the Northeast.

Scheduled speakers and performers include:

Joseph Bruchac, author of ‘Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back’ and ‘Code Talker.’

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The Heart of a Chief written by Joseph Bruchac 1999 Awardee

Mental Floss: 50 Essential Children’s Books

The books we read as children are often simple (and let’s face it, silly) but that doesn’t mean they aren’t powerful pieces of literature. Here are 50 of our favorite books for kids, which are sure to leave you a little bit nostalgic, and-we hope-eager to hit up the children’s section at your local library.


Non-city dwellers might not be familiar with the term “tar beach”-which describes the blacktop roofs at the top of many urban buildings. While they might not sound like the ideal setting for a kid’s book, just picture a hot summer night, a sky full of stars, and a city full of lights, and you’ll start to understand the undeniable charm of this beautiful story.


Author Katherine Paterson won the Newbery Medal for this 1977 novel, in which two misunderstood kids-Jess Aarons, the only boy in a five-kid family, and Leslie Burke, a brilliant tomboy who is a newcomer to Jess’s hometown-form an unlikely friendship and turn the woods near their house into their own personal paradise. Dubbing the place “Terabithia,” Jess and Leslie spend their time there escaping the harsh realities of their tumultuous family lives. But when tragedy strikes, Jess discovers that the magic of Terabithia wasn’t just in their imaginations.

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The Same Stuff as Stars by Katherine Paterson 2003 Awardee

The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson 1979 Awardee

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

Women of Substance Festival 2017

The Women of Substance Festival magnifies the mission, values and spirit of St. Catherine’s University.

Poetry as a Conversation for Something Better: A Reading by Naomi Shihab Nye and Ibtisam Barakat
Award-winning Palestinian-American author and poet Naomi Shihab Nye closes her Wisdom Ways residence with a reading, book-signing, and dialogue to reflect on the importance of poetry and literature and its power to help us imagine – and grow – into a better world.

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Habibi written by Naomi Shihab Nye 1998 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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