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Black History Celebrated Through Biographies and Much More #JACBA Newsletter 9Feb2018
Newsletter / February 11, 2018

Children’s Books About Black History, Heavy on Biographies Among that genre’s newest arrivals are names familiar to adults, as in THE UNITED STATES V. JACKIE ROBINSON (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, ages 4 to 8), written by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen. This picture book is more interested in young Robinson’s less-known act of resistance during his Army days than in his later, trailblazing career as a baseball player. It’s nice to have an athlete celebrated for personal integrity over physical prowess, and R. Gregory Christie’s pictures bolster this, evoking a Robinson who is strong and sure, but also smiling, warm, and ultimately, triumphant. Sandra Neil Wallace’s BETWEEN THE LINES: How Ernie Barnes Went From the Football Field to the Art Gallery (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, ages 4 to 8), illustrated by Bryan Collier, is a beautiful testament to a quintessentially American life. Wallace and Collier celebrate both Barnes’s success on the gridiron and his subsequent reinvention as an artist. As in “The United States v. Jackie Robinson,” athleticism is a secondary concern; early on, we see the young Barnes in a museum, wondering where the black painters are, and the story ends with contemporary young museumgoers being shown Barnes’s art. This choice makes the…

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 / 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 / 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…

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…

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…

LBGT Lambda Literary Awards and Pride Book List #JACBA Newsletter 30Jun2017
Newsletter / July 1, 2017

LGBTQ Women of Color Win Big at Lambda Literary Awards Nine women of color took home prizes at this year’s 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards. With 24 categories in all, ranging from “LGBT Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror” to “Transgender Poetry,” the event celebrated 13 writers of color and 16 women. The Lambda Literary Awards, also known as the “Lammys,” honors books written by writers in the LGBTQ community. One of the evening’s most prestigious awards, the Visionary Award, went to Jacqueline Woodson. The author of the 2014 New York Times bestselling memoir “Brown Girl Dreaming” received the award to commemorate her lifetime achievements. Tony Award-winning actress Cynthia Nixon introduced Woodson, declaring her a “writer who is part of the institution but stands outside it and critiques.” Nixon also said Woodson is “the writer, the friend, the citizen these times demand.” 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 children’s author comes to new Open Book/Open Mind Series event Newbery and National Book Award-winning children’s author Jacqueline Woodson will be the next guest…

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…

Jane Addams Author, Margarita Engle Named Young People’s Poet Laureate #JACBA Newsletter 19May2017
Newsletter / May 20, 2017

Margarita Engle Named Young People’s Poet Laureate The Poetry Foundation is honored to announce that Margarita Engle has been named the Young People’s Poet Laureate. Awarded every two years, the laureate title is given to a living writer in recognition of a career devoted to writing exceptional poetry for young readers. “Margarita Engle’s passion, knowledge of nature, and curiosity about the world make her work fascinating to children and adults alike,” says Henry Bienen, president of the Poetry Foundation. “We are delighted that Ms. Engle has accepted the position of Young People’s Poet Laureate and will now be a greater part of the Poetry Foundation community.” Read More Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal by Margarita Engle 2015 Awardee The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle 2009 Awardee Cinco de Mayo: Books that demonstrate the contributions of a talented, hardworking people This day, let America affirm the presence of Mexican-Americans – a people whose influence can be felt throughout the United States. Their contributions are many and are inspired by the possibilities of innovative expression in American arts. Therefore, with much appreciation and veneration, let America stand and salute Matt de la Pena, Margarita…