It can be difficult to have conversations with children and students about the many injustices that are apparent in our country right now. The mission of the Jane Addams Peace Association is “Deepening understanding of peace and justice for children and their adults through reflection, dialogue and social action.” The books that have been selected as Jane Addams Children’s Book Award winners and honor books can help children process many of the things they observe in the world around them. Topics you may choose to discuss with your child could include the prevalence of resistance and the importance of activism to challenge these injustices.
Children’s voices have had power in creating change throughout history and raising their awareness about people who have made a difference can empower them to make a change starting now. The following books focus on and promote activism, delving into specific social inequalities in various communities, exploring topics such as race, gender, sexuality, and disabilities.
Books About Activism
Woke by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, Olivia Gatwood, and Theodore Taylor, III
Woke: A Young Poet’s Guide to Justice is a collection of poems to inspire kids to stay woke and become a new generation of activists.
Historically, poets have been on the forefront of social movements. Woke is a collection of poems by women that reflects the joy and passion in the fight for social justice, tackling topics from discrimination, to empathy and acceptance, to speaking out.
Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and Melissa Sweet
When Clara arrived in America, she couldn’t speak English. She didn’t know that young women had to go to work, that they traded an education for long hours of labor, that she was expected to grow up fast. But that didn’t stop Clara. She went to night school, spent hours studying English, and helped support her family by sewing in a shirtwaist factory. Fed up with the mistreatment of her fellow laborers, Clara led the largest walkout of women workers the country had seen. From her short time in America, Clara learned that everyone deserved a fair chance. That you had to stand together and fight for what you wanted. And, most importantly, that you could do anything you put your mind to.
Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi
Fred Korematsu liked listening to music on the radio, playing tennis, and hanging around with his friends–just like lots of other Americans. But everything changed when the United States went to war with Japan in 1941 and the government forced all people of Japanese ancestry to leave their homes on the West Coast and move to distant prison camps. He knew that what the government was doing was unfair. And when he was put in jail for resisting, he knew he couldn’t give up. The story of Fred Korematsu’s fight against discrimination explores the life of one courageous person who made the United States a fairer place for all Americans, and it encourages all of us to speak up for justice.
Dolores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers by Sarah Warren and Robert Casilla
Dolores Huerta played many roles in her efforts to help organize underpaid farm workers. As a teacher, she saw that her students were often too hungry or sick to learn. When she investigated why, she learned about their families’ employment hardships, which in turn motivated her to campaign for better working conditions and pay. A brief text highlights Huerta’s efforts and determination over many years, as she organized strikes, generated publicity, confronted farm bosses, and pursued her beliefs in the face of criticism.
The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award annually recognizes children’s books of literary and aesthetic excellence that effectively engage children in thinking about peace, social justice, global community, and equity for all.
Find resources associated with each of our winning and honor books here:
Virtual Coffee with our Executive Director
Please join the Jane Addams Peace Association’s Executive Director, Angela Medina, on Wednesday, August 16th at 9 AM EST for a virtual coffee session!
Whether you’re looking to learn more about our organization, chat with like-minded people, or simply connect with our Executive Director, this virtual coffee session is the perfect event for you.
We hope to see you there!
Join Us Here: https://bit.ly/JAPAVirtualCoffee
Arm Yourself with Facts to Fight Book Challenges
The Board of Directors of the Jane Addams Peace Association stands with all organizations fighting for the right for writers and artists to freely express themselves, and for those fighting to keep their books in libraries and classrooms.
Here are some of the organizations that offer resources to fortify you in your struggle to uphold the right to freedom of speech, the right of every U.S. citizen, under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
American Library Association
The American Library Association calls sees in this moment an “unprecedented surge in local and statewide book bans.”
ALA offers a “clearinghouse of resources” for libraries and their allies.
We Need Diverse Books
WNDB offers a master list of resources, focused primarily on children’s books by writers and artists of color as well as LGBTQ+ book creators.
These books have been challenged and removed with greater frequency than other books.
PEN America: The Freedom to Write
PEN has aggregated articles on book-banning and what various organizations are doing to stop it (legal actions, petitions, contacting politicians):
National Coalition Against Censorship
NCAC gives book creators resources to find out if their books are being challenged and how to push back on those challenges. NCAC has also aggregated articles on book-banning around the country and what actions may be taken to stop it.
Books & Books
265 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Books & Books is one of the leading independent booksellers in America. Founded by Mitchell Kaplan in 1982, it has since expanded to eight locations, concentrated in the Miami area and also with branches in Grand Cayman and Westhampton Beach on Long Island, and beloved author Judy Blume operates a namesake in Key West. The flagship store in Coral Gables has been a leading light in the fight against Banned Books in Florida.
Books & Books @ The Studios of Key West is the brainchild of a small group of local booklovers, led by George Cooper and his wife, Judy Blume, who has been a passionate defender of the First Amendment ever since her book Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. was widely removed from schools more than 50 years ago. Studios of Key West is a 10-year-old non-profit arts organization dedicated to enhancing and enriching the cultural life of the city. It provides low-cost studio space to local artists, a residency program for visiting artists, two galleries to display their work, a wide range of classes for both locals and visitors, and a diverse program of concerts, lectures and performances in a 200-seat auditorium.
Books & Books continues to host monthly art exhibits throughout all of its locations, showcasing hundreds of local, national and international artists and their artworks over the years. The work is sold through the register, with Books & Books acting as a gallery and getting a percentage of what is sold.
Check out Books & Books here: https://www.booksandbooks.com/
Support Our Work
The Jane Addams Peace Association perpetuates the spirit of activist and pacifist Jane Addams, her love for children and humanity, her commitment to freedom and democracy, and her devotion to the cause of world peace.
Your donation to the Jane Addams Peace Association, a 501(c)(3) organization, is tax-deductible and helps us support authors, illustrators, parents, teachers, and librarians as they “deepen understanding of peace and justice for children and their adults through reflection, dialogue, and social action.”