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

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

Save the Date! October 20, 2017 2:30PM Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Ceremony PDF | JPG   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:…

Children’s Books About Fascism and Racism Build Resilience and Understanding #JACBA Newsletter 25Aug2017
Newsletter / September 2, 2017

11 Kids’ Books That Will Help Them Understand the Struggle for Racial Equality “That’s why I was happy to come across this list of books to help kids understand the fight for racial equality from ReadBrightly. Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich offers 11 suggestions, divided by age, beginning with The Other Side, by Jacqueline Woodson, about segregation, and We March, by Shane W. Evans, about the 1963 March on Washington. I’m going to start with Separate Is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh, because my son and I have already been talking about school segregation, and Lillian’s Right to Vote by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Shane W. Evans, because we’ve also talked about voting and the Voting Rights Act. There are also books for older tweens and teens and a graphic novel by Congressman John Lewis.” 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 Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Shane W. Evans 2016 Awardee We March written and illustrated by Shane W….

Get a haircut and get a book for back to school #JACBA Newsletter 18Aug2017
Newsletter / August 21, 2017

Get a haircut and a book; a sample of novel openings; saving the rainforest Used to be that the only thing that might come with a haircut would be a shave. Right now and through the first day of school in September any child, aged 4 through 12, who gets his or her hair cut, braided, or styled at one of seven participating hair shops in Egleston Square will get to choose a book to take home for free. And all the books, which were chosen in consultation with local librarians, “either feature a young child of color or are written or illustrated by artists of color,” says Luis Edgardo Cotto, executive director of Egleston Square Main Street, the neighborhood-based nonprofit sponsoring the Books in the Barbershop Summer Reading Initiative. The works selected for the program, now in its second summer, include: “Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music” by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael López; “Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat” by Javaka Steptoe; “Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood” by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell and illustrated by Rafael López; “When We Fight, We Win: Twenty-First Century Social Movements and…

Needed: multi-layered texts about about Muslim women, girls, and children #JACBA Newsletter 11Aug2017
Newsletter / August 13, 2017

Q&A: Kidlit scholar Heba Elsherief on the problematic representation of Muslim girls in children’s literature Q: When it comes to The Breadwinner, which is often found in North American classrooms and will soon to be an animated film, executive produced by Angelina Jolie, what would you say to teachers using the text? A: “My research on The Breadwinner is cursory, but I do know that if you’re a teacher who wants inclusivity [then] you get The Breadwinner [about an 11-year-old girl living in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan]. Others have done research on how it reinforces the care ethic and the plight narrative of Muslim girls in children’s literature. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be on the syllabus, but if you’re going to critique these books, you have to ask yourself how the book is working on you as a teacher and how you can demonstrate to your students a form of critical reading, questioning and problematizing the text – especially when it’s a narrative that is so popular and so taken up in non-interdisciplinary ways. You don’t have black women, poor women, intersectional feminism endorsing a book like that.” Read More Irish Movie To Get World Premiere At Prestigious Film Festival The…

Illustrated Books About Women Who Changed The World #JACBA Newsletter 28Jul2017
Newsletter / July 29, 2017

14 Illustrated Books About Women Who Changed The World ‘Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women’ by Catherine Thimmesh and Melissa Sweet (Illustrator) Women have invented some pretty amazing things throughout history – you just didn’t know it. Girls Think of Everything is a smart collection of stories, each with a compelling voice that makes you feel part of the stories themselves. ‘Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight’ by Kathleen Krull and Amy June Bates (Illustrator) If you have a thing for books that tell the stories of inspiring female politicians, look no futher: Kathleen Krull and Amy June Bates’ account of Hillary Clinton’s life will take you on an inspired journey through her younger years. ‘Me, Frida’ by Amy Novesky and David Díaz (Illustrator) Connect with the life of Frida Kahlo with this playful, poetic and mesmerizing book, styled after Frida’s artwork. Written by Amy Novesky and illustrated by David Diaz, this book tells the tale of her early days in San Francisco with her husband, the artist Diego Rivera. Frida struggled to find a muse, speak a foreign language, and learn to live a life that didn’t yet belong to her, but once she did,…

Inspired Feminist Children’s Books On the Rise #JACBA Newsletter 1Jun2017
Newsletter / June 4, 2017

15 Feminist Children’s Books That Will Inspire Readers Of Any Age Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women by Catherine Thimmesh and Melissa Sweet tells the stories of the women who invented everything from windshield wipers, to liquid paper white-out, to aircraft bumpers, to the chocolate chip cookie, and more. I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley tells the (condensed, simplified) version of the amazing life and achievements of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, while combating the idea that young girls and women should always be agreeable, accommodating, and non-confrontational – a lesson I know that at least I need to keep learning over and over. The Invisible Princess by Faith Ringgold is an African American fairy tale set during slavery, telling the story of one couple whose wishes for their child come true in ways they never could have imagined. That daughter becomes the Invisible Princess, who will one day liberate her parents from slavery, and bring freedom to all the slaves on the plantation. This one is a great reminder of the difference just one individual can make – invisible or not. Read More Brave Girl: Clara…

Rewriting the Narrative In a World With No Fairy Tale Endings: J. Woodson At Teachers College #JACBA Newsletter 26May2017
Newsletter / May 27, 2017

Rewriting the Narrative: At TC’s first master’s degree ceremony, a focus on civic education as an antidote to a world with no fairytale endings Speaking after Fuhrman, the National Book Award-winning writer Jacqueline Woodson – author of the memoir-in-verse Brown Girl Dreaming, the novels Locomotion and Feathers, and other titles for young adults and children – remarked on the moment in children’s literature when “the stories change to tales where there is no longer a happy ending” and where suddenly “no perfectly fitted glass slipper brings about a happily ever after, no straw spun to gold defeats Rumpelstiltskin, no pea beneath a mattress ends in some hetero-normative, very white world of marriage and Queendom.” NO GLASS SLIPPER Woodson spoke of the need to prepare young people to work for change in a world with no fairy-tale endings. Woodson recalled a school appearance at which she read the bittersweet ending to one of her books, only to have a third grade boy stand up, enraged, and tell her that the characters were supposed to become friends. “You will face again and again the enraged boy who doesn’t think the story should end this way,” she told graduates. “And you will agree…