Children’s Books Can Shine Light on Difficult Emotions #JACBA Newsletter 12Jan2018
Newsletter / January 12, 2018

J. Woodson and others… Why We Shouldn’t Shield Children From Darkness We are currently in a golden age of picture books, with a tremendous range to choose from. Some of the best are funny. Or silly. Or informative. Or socially aware. Or just plain reassuring. But I’d like to think there’s a place for the emotionally complex picture book, too. Jacqueline Woodson’s amazing Each Kindness comes to mind, in which the protagonist misses the opportunity to be kind to a classmate. Margaret Wise Brown’s The Dead Bird is a beautiful exploration of mourning from the point of view of children. Read More 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 Award-winning illustrator Kadir Nelson to discuss his ‘search for truth’ Nelson shared a statement that discussed the strong African-American themes of his art. “It’s just a search for truth,” writes Nelson. “I think all of us have to find our own truths, and for me, this is part of it. When we learn about history in school or in books, we don’t always…

African-American Stories and Images in 2017-2018 Children’s Literature #JACBA Newsletter 8Dec2017
Newsletter / December 14, 2017

Book Highlight: part 5 This fifth installment of our multi-part series on the 2017 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Ceremony features an introduction given by Book Award Committee Member Sonja Cherry-Paul for Steamboat School: Inspired by a True Story, written by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Ron Husband, published by Disney-Jump at the Sun, an imprint of Disney Book Group, named the Winning Book in the Books for Younger Children category. Introduction by Sonja Cherry-Paul Steamboat School: Inspired By A True Story St. Louis, MIssouri 1847, the winner in the Books for Younger Children Category, is written by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Rob Husband and published by Disney-Jump at the Sun, an imprint of Disney Book Group. “We make our own light here,” Reverend John Meachum proclaims. His statement is a powerful metaphor that Deborah Hopkinson and Ron Husband extend across this poignant picture book to juxtapose the oppression of African-Americans with their resilience, determination, ingenuity, and activism. Inside their church, down the basement steps, and into the darkness, the children in this story attend the Tallow Candle School, led by their Reverend John. Through the eyes of a young boy, James, readers discover the importance of education and the measures…

Give Children the Gift of Engaging and Transporting Books #JACBA Newsletter 1Dec2017
Newsletter / December 2, 2017

Book Highlight: part 4 This fourth installment of our multi-part series on the 2017 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Ceremony features an introduction given by Book Award Committee Member Beth McGowan for I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark, written by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, named an Honor Book in the Books for Younger Children category. Introduction by Beth McGowan Our first Honor Book for the Younger Children Award is I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers written by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley. Telling the story of one of the most admirable women living in our nation today, this short biography of the Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, told with a humorous touch, focuses on RBG’s courage to regularly and vocally disagree when power enforces inequality. Beginning with Ruth’s childhood in Brooklyn, we learn that her mother, Celia Amster Bader, was her inspiration and first taught her to resist. Rather than raise her daughter to find a husband, she raised her to, as Levy says, “go out in the world and do big things.”…

Feminist Children’s Books & Explorations of Gender Stereotypes #JACBA Newsletter 24Nov2017
Newsletter , Uncategorized / November 24, 2017

Book Highlight: part 3 This third installment of our multi-part series on the 2017 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Ceremony features an introduction given by Book Award Committee Member Jenice Mateo-Toledo for We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler, written by Russell Freedman, published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, named an Honor Book in the Books for Older Children category. Introduction by Jenice Mateo-Toledo Russell Freedman writes: The year was 1942 and World War II was in its third year, leaflets began to appear mysteriously in mailboxes all over Nazi Germany…. A person could not be too careful. Anyone caught with a seditious leaflet was marked as an enemy of the state and could land in a concentration camp, or worse… Neatly typed documents headed [with]… “Leaflets of the White Rose…” assailed the Nazi dictatorship as evil, denounced Adolf Hitler as a liar and blasphemer, and called on the German people to rise up and overthrow the Nazi regime.“ [but]… Who was the White Rose?… Russell Freedman expertly utilizes eloquent prose, first hand accounts, and carefully curated black and white images to transport the reader to…

Truth, Humor, and Golden Storytelling: The Riches of Children’s Literature #JACBA Newsletter 17Nov2017
Newsletter , Uncategorized / November 19, 2017

Book Highlight: part 2 This second installment of our multi-part series on the 2017 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Ceremony features an introduction given by Book Award Committee Member Ann Carpenter for First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial, written by Susan E. Goodman, illustrated by E.B. Lewis, published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books, named an Honor Book in the Books for Younger Children category. Introduction by Ann Carpenter “The march towards justice is a long, twisting journey.” The truth of these words is brought to life with lush illustrations and moving text in the story of Sarah Roberts, a young black girl living in Boston in 1847. Denied a place at the local segregated school because she was not white, her parents fought back. It was the first American court case fighting segregation. It was the first case where an African American lawyer argued in front of a state supreme court. It was the first time an African American lawyer and white lawyer worked as a team in court. And it was the first, of many, civil rights court cases that was lost. It would have been easy to stop there. To give up hope. To acknowledge that…

‘Maybe it’s time for all of us to talk,’ addressing violence and discrimination #JACBA Newsletter 9Nov2017
Newsletter , Uncategorized / November 11, 2017

Book Highlight: part 1 This first installment of our multi-part series on the 2017 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Ceremony features an introduction given by Book Award Committee Member Julie Olsen-Edwards for Wolf Hollow, written by Lauren Wolk, published by Random House Children’s Books, named an Honor Book in the Books for Older Children. Introduction by Julie Olsen-Edwards Wolf Hollow, written by Lauren Wolk and published by Dutton Children’s Books, an imprint of Dutton, Random House is a beautifully written, compelling, coming of age novel set in rural World War II Pennsylvania. It is the story of the damage done by war – even after the soldiers come home; about the power of fear and bias to close the eyes of good people to what is happening around them, and of a young girl’s discovery of her own moral compass and courage. Almost twelve-year-old Annabelle encounters almost incorrigible cruelty for the first time when a school mate, Betty, focuses on Annabelle and her younger brothers and then places blame on Toby, a troubled, homeless, World War I veteran. As false accusations take hold of the town, Annabelle’s awareness of the world’s unfairness grows and step by step leads her to…

Let’s think about how, why, and when we invite books into our classrooms #JACBA Newsletter 27Oct2017
Newsletter , Uncategorized / October 28, 2017

Why Are We Still Teaching ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ in Schools? Take, for instance, “Monster,” a 1999 novel by award-winning African-American novelist Walter Dean Myers that also takes place in a courtroom. Here, however, the focus is on the young black defendant and narrator, Steve Harmon; the white lawyer, on the other hand, plays a lesser, but still complex, part. Monster is a complex and powerful modern classic that does much of the same work – providing a portrait of a young artist budding ethical integrity while confronting racism – as “Mockingbird” but does it with arguably more complexity. We are often in practice censoring books like “Monster” from the curriculum to maintain a space for “Mockingbird.” Often, we maintain that the book’s inclusion is in fact necessary to prevent censorship. But what if keeping it in the curriculum maintains the status quo of the past as much as it illuminates it? Read More Now Is Your Time! The African-American Struggle for Freedom by Walter Dean Myers 1992 Awardee Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam by Walter Dean Myers 2003 Awardee What Most Humans Don’t Know About Animal Intelligence: An Interview With Sy Montgomery We are now learning that there…

You’re invited to the 2017 JACBA Ceremony in person & streaming online!
Newsletter , Uncategorized / October 13, 2017

You’re Invited! October 20, 2017 2:30PM Jane Addams Children’s Book Award CeremonyPDF | JPG ——————————————- Humans had to evolve to acknowledge octopus consciousness “An octopus is as different from a person physically as creatures can get,” naturalist Sy Montgomery, author of the 2015 book The Soul of an Octopus, … Read More Getting to Know Sy Montgomery Getting to Know Sy Montgomery. Do you think of writing children’s books as a “desk job”? Well, there is some sitting and writing involved but there is so … Read More Sandwich Reads Together To Focus On ‘The Soul Of An Octopus’ Written by author and naturalist Sy Montgomery, it explores the physical world of the octopus and the connections it makes with humans. By turns … Read More Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery 2013 Awardee 8 Things That Happen In Kids’ Brains When Arts Funding Gets Cut Children’s book author and professor Jewell Parker Rhodes knows firsthand how a lack of emphasis on creativity can stymie emotional expression… Read More Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes 2014 Awardee The Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes 2011 Awardee Reading & literacy: A…

Children’s Immigration Story Project and Edwidge Danticat: Young Americans’ Dreams Deferred #JACBA Newsletter 22Sept2017
Newsletter , Uncategorized / September 23, 2017

Save the Date! October 20, 2017 2:30PM Jane Addams Children’s Book Award CeremonyPDF | JPG Children’s Immigration Story Project aims to ease anxieties Even before Trump’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…

If You Think Racism is Too Political (for Classroom Conversation), Think About What Your Silence Says #JACBA Newsletter 8Sept2017
Newsletter , Uncategorized / September 11, 2017

If You Think Racism is Too Political For Your Classroom, Think About What Your Silence Says By: Sonja Cherry-Paul Sonja is a committee member for The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, which acknowledges the work of authors and illustrators who promote peace and equality. Hundreds of White supremacists marched in Charlottesville no longer hidden behind the hoods and robes of the past. In response, for the benefit of our students, our schools and our nation educators must answer the call to end racism and to begin in their classrooms starting on the very first day of school, and White educators should work, listen, plan and act. Our student deserve more than good intentions. Read More US literary figures renew call for freedom for Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour Prominent U.S. poets, writers, playwrights and publishers issued statements today in support of imprisoned Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour ahead of her upcoming trial verdict on October 17. The 12 literary figures whose statements are being issued today are among 300 writers, including 11 Pulitzer Prize-winners, who signed a 2016 letter calling for freedom for Tatour after she was first arrested. These statements of solidarity with Dareen Tatour come from: Susan Abulhawa, Ben Ehrenreich,…