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Naomi Shihab Nye’s Poetry Speaks of Caring and Kindness #JACBA Newsletter 19Jan2018
Newsletter / January 20, 2018

Deep Listening Lessons from the psychology of the spiritual imagination Poet Nye recounted how her world-renowned poem “Kindness” came to her as a kind of voice that she heard from deep within herself. On her honeymoon, her and her husband’s luggage was stolen. As her husband traveled to the next town to get new travel documents, she sat in the town’s square watching people as they passed. Suddenly, the poem came to her as if “floating across the square” for her to transcribe. Read More Replace despair with volunteerism in 2018: Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk (Opinion) Ms. Nye is a writer and a Palestinian-Arab American. I am a Jew, a Zionist, and a rabbi. We differ sharply in culture, politics and identity. But we share an aspiration to secure wholeness and peace. Read More Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye 1998 Awardee Sitti’s Secrets by Naomi Shihab Nye, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter 1995 Awardee Drumpf Reopens an Old Wound for Haitians by Edwidge Danticat President Drumpf’s alleged remarks have taken many of us back to a time when such attitudes were commonplace. They are also particularly disturbing in the context of his larger anti-immigrant program. As Haitian-community advocates are trying to rally…

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…

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.”…

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…

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…

Featuring Jane Addams Artist and 2017 Caldecott Winner Javaka Steptoe #JACBA Newsletter 15Jul2017
Newsletter / July 15, 2017

Profile of 2017 Caldecott Medal and CSK Illustrator Award winner Javaka Steptoe by Azure Thompson Javaka’s commitment to this truth is evident in his more-than-two-decade career of illustrating black faces and bodies in various settings and situations. His first book, In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers, shows the diversity of relationships among black grandfathers, fathers, and children. The night after Javaka won the Caldecott Medal, he told a roomful of librarians in Seattle, Washington, that the award means his voice will be amplified. It will help ensure that he continues to tell stories about the black experience, as he is committed to expanding the boundaries of how we see people of color. And it ensures that we will listen to him more than ever before. Read More Caldecott Medal winner for best picture book visits Skokie It took illustrator and writer Javaka Steptoe five to six years to complete his multi-award winning picture book on the early life of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. It took an eager group of children less than an hour to recreate some of the book’s story of Basquiat in a playful version Monday at the Skokie Public Library. “Art is the street…

Announcing 2017 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Winning and Honor Titles
Award Announcements , Newsletter / April 28, 2017

Announcement of the 2017 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Winners Congratulations to the 65th Jane Addams Children’s Book Awardees Deborah Hopkinson, Ron Husband, Debbie Levy, Elizabeth Baddeley, Susan E Goodman, E.B. Lewis, Caren B. Stelson, Russell Freedman, and Lauren Wolk. Press Release Word and PDF Video Announcement The Jane Addams Model Our antipoverty efforts tend to be systematized and bureaucratized, but Hull House was intensely personalistic. She sought to change the world by planting herself deeply in a particular neighborhood. She treated each person as a unique soul. Read More Sonic Spirituality: Louise Erdrich on Postcommodity’s Ceremonial Transformation of LRAD The effect of LRAD, Long Range Acoustic Device, on people is devastating. But in a moving act of cultural transformation, the art collective Postcommodity is using LRAD in a radically different manner. The innocuous-looking gray LRAD speakers are installed in Athens, Greece, and the more softly pitched acoustical beam is directed at the archeological site of Aristotle’s Lyceum. Here, LRAD is used to speak to the origins of western civilization, not in weaponized tones, but in the language of the human spirit. Postcommodity’s work is to heal that damage, to inflict, instead of pain and loss, complexity, meaning, and gorgeous…

Jane Addams Winner Lynda Blackmon Lowery’s Civil Rights Story Speaks to Syrian Refugees #JACBA Newsletter 14Apr2017
Newsletter / April 14, 2017

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…