Oney Judge and slave escapes, the “Walter,” remembering our poets, and honoring parents JACBA Newsletter 3Feb2016

Kirkus Review: A Birthday Cake for George Washington

A full-page author’s note goes into detail about Hercules’ life, informing readers that he escaped in 1797, leaving Delia still enslaved. The book is a sorry contrast to Emily Arnold McCully’s The Escape of Oney Judge (2007), which explicitly tells the story of one of Martha Washington’s enslaved servants who took freedom.

Children whose grown-ups do not address the material in the notes with them will be left with a sorely incomplete understanding of both the protagonists’ lives and slavery itself.

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


Choctaw storyteller visits Grand View School

Grand View Public School hosted a cultural event where students heard native storyteller Tim Tingle tell the story of a young Choctaw girl who befriended a family of slaves and eventually led them to freedom to avoid being separated after a slave sale. The book “Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom,” was written by Tim Tingle and illustrated by Jeanne Rorex Bridges.

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


Recent Controversies Spark Discussion About Slavery Books

Andrea Pinkney is one of the finest, most intelligent and knowledgeable editors that I know,” says Doreen Rappaport, a prize-winning children’s author whose books include “Escape from Slavery” and “No More! Stories and Songs of Slaves Resistance.”

Children’s author-illustrator Don Tate and others say slavery books for children are an intricate art of communicating historical crimes that neither overwhelms nor misleads readers. “There’s no checklist for the right way to do this,” says Megan Schliesman, a librarian at the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “We’re in the midst of a huge learning process.”

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

Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride by Andrea Davis Pinkney & Brian Pinkney 2010 Awardee
We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song written by Debbie Levy and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton 2014 Awardee
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. written by Doreen Rappaport 2002 Awardee


Words on a Wire: Remembering Francisco X. Alarcón and C.D. Wright

Host Daniel Chacón remembers 2 poets who died within days of each other this month. The famed Chicano poet Francisco X. Alarcón died on January 15, and award-winning American poet C.D. Wright died in her sleep on January 12. Daniel opens the show with a poem by Alarcón, and reflects on a 2012 “Words on a Wire” interview with C.D. Wright.

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Poems to Dream Together=Poemas Para Soñar Juntos by Francisco X. Alarcón 2006 Awardee


Francisco Jiménez talks about the importance of education at Fairlawn Elementary

The writer, who recently had the newest Santa Maria-Bonita District school named after him and his brother, Robert Jiménez, told stories of his upbringing in poverty and stressed the crucial role education played in his life and career.

He summed up the discussion by explaining to the students three reasons they should stay in school: to honor the sacrifices their parents made; to have the opportunity to choose their careers; and to give their families a chance at a comfortable life.

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The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child by Francisco Jiménez 1998 Awardee


Free Samples of the Walter Dean Myers Award-Winning Books

The We Need Diverse Books organization has revealed the winning and honor books for the inaugural Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature. This prize, named after the late Walter Dean Myers, has also become known as “The Walter.” The award’s mission is to honor the memory of Walter Dean Myers and his literary heritage, as well as celebrate diversity in teen literature.“

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Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam by Walter Dean Myers 2003 Awardee

Now Is Your Time! The African-American Struggle for Freedom by Walter Dean Myers 1992 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 2015 Awards.

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