The Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards & Inheriting Legacies of Peace and Justice Program

By: Jan Corderman, Board Member, Jane Addams Peace Association

The April 27 announcement of this years’ winners of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards and Peace & Justice program was held at Hull House in Chicago, the first settlement house in the United States co-founded by Addams. First awarded in 1953, the Awards honor exemplary children’s literature that most effectively promote peace, social justice, world community, and gender and racial equality to young readers. Book Selection Committee members Susan Freiss, Jacqui Kolar and Beth McGowan enlisted the help of fourth and fifth grade children who had read and come to greatly admire the award winners with their teachers, Friess and teaching partner Jennifer Peterson in announcing and describing two winners and four honor books. The children also participate in conversation during the reading aloud of the winning book for younger readers. See www.janeaddamspeace.org for a list of this year’s winning and honor books and to view a fabulous new searchable data-base of previous winners.

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Friess and Peterson, from Stoner Prairie Elementary in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, told of their work in the classroom with Jane Addams Children’s Books and extended an invitation to all present to talk with children about peace and justice.

The morning included a book making activity for the children, led by the Chicago Childcare Collective. ChiChiCo’s goal is to have fun with kids while their parents participate in and lead organizing efforts to defend their rights and build a better Chicago.

Two members of the Jane Addams Peace Association Board were in attendance, Margaret Harrington Tamulonis from Burlington, Vermont and Jan Corderman from Pleasant Hill, Iowa. Margaret observed after touring Hull House for the first time, “There is such wonderful enthusiasm here from both the children and adults. It’s exhilarating to be in Hull House where Jane Addams rocked the cradle of social democracy in America. It’s such a positive event and I’m committed to get the word out about the Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards.”

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In attendance were four of Jane Addams cousins, eight or nine times removed! They shared their pride and joy in knowing that small connection with someone they admire. A tour of the Hull House Museum, Addams’ living quarters, was included in the day. Following the program, Ria Kulenovic and Robin Lloyd met with WILPFERS to discuss the upcoming 100th Anniversary Celebrations to be held in 2015.

Photos courtesy of Margaret Harrington.

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