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Announcement of 2022 Winning & Honor Titles

Recipients of the 2022 Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards were announced by the Jane Addams Peace Association. Since 1953, 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 people.

Shirley Chisholm Dared: The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress, written by Alicia D. Williams, illustrated by April Harrison, and published by Anne Schwartz Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House, is the winner in the Books for Younger Children category.

How to Find What You’re Not Looking For, written by Veera Hiranandani, and published by Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Random House, is the winner in the Books for Older Children category.

In addition, two Honor Books were named in the Books for Younger Children category:

Runaway: The Daring Escape of Ona Judge, written by Ray Anthony Shepard, illustrated by Keith Mallett, and published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Books for Younger Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group; and Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre, written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, and published by Carolrhoda Books, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group.

Two Honor Books were named in the Books for Older Children category:

Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame, written by Supriya Kelkar, and published by Tu Books, an imprint of Lee and Low Books; and Rez Dogs, written by Joseph Bruchac, published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

The 2022 Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards ceremony will be held in the late Spring. Details about the award event, and securing winner and honor book seals, are available from the Jane Addams Peace Association at info@janeaddamspeace.org.

Winning Books:

Shirley Chisholm Dared, tells the story of the first Black woman elected to Congress. Throughout her life she dared to ask questions and challenge the status quo. This picture book biography portrays Shirley as an outspoken individual who was curious, stood her ground, pushed the boundaries of what was considered “proper” and blazed trails of her own as a teacher, a school director, a New York State Assemblywoman, and a Congresswoman, an inspiration for future generations to follow in her footsteps and dare to follow their own dreams. Harrison’s colorful illustrations, created with acrylics and mixed media collage, depict Shirley as an exuberant, life-loving child, adolescent, and adult with her own sense of fashion style and for whom rules were often meant to be broken. The dignified portrait of Shirley on the cover beckons readers to live as she lived – “unbought and unbossed.”

How to Find What You’re Not Looking For is a historical novel set in the years after the Loving vs. Virginia Supreme Court ruling and references important historical events of the time, including the Vietnam War, Walter Cronkite’s nightly news broadcasts, the Summer of Love, and music by Elvis Presley and the Beatles. At school, Ariel struggles with dysgraphia and is bullied because she is Jewish. Her sister, Leah, runs away with Raj, a recently immigrated Indian man, but her family rejects the marriage because Raj is not Jewish. Ariel questions behaviors she deems contradictory and expresses her thoughts through poetry. Throughout the novel, Ariel bravely asks the adults in her world difficult questions that compel them to interrogate their actions and beliefs, demonstrating that activism is not just publicly marching in the streets, but also confronting the everyday acts of racism and antisemitism that we often witness within our own families and communities.

Honor Books in the Younger Children category.

Runaway: The Daring Escape of Ona Judge is the unique, poetic biography of Ona Judge, a biracial slave separated from her mother as a child to toil in the Philadelphia household of George and Martha Washington. Its visual and textual narratives open and close the book with Ona’s daring self-emancipation. A third-person narrator describes her work in small vignettes that each end with the rhetorical question, “Why you run Ona Judge?” This repeated inquiry presumes she had no reason to run away given her “privileged” life and work. Yet the accompanying fabric collage paintings debunk any such notion with the reality of her world over the years. These rich, poignant images enable readers to identify with Ona, lending clarity to the reality of slavery–even in the home of the powerful, white first president of the United States. This is particularly evident in the final, double-page spread (and cover) illustration that powerfully portrays Ona in a posture of inner strength, determination, and hope as she travels by boat toward freedom.

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre brings to life tragic events that transpired over a century ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The prosperous Black community in the Greenwood district
thrived in what has often been referred to as the “Black Wall Street.” When a 17-year-old white woman accused a Black man of “assaulting” her, the consequential confrontations resulted in innumerable deaths and the utter destruction of this amazing community. Weatherford and Cooper chronicle this critically important historic event in a sensitive, caring manner for young children. Powerful endpapers, created in Cooper’s muted palette and oil-erasure technique, depict the smoking ruins of the destruction. This historic nonfiction text documents an often untold significant historic event and reminds us all of the importance of shedding light on our past.

Honor Books in the Older Children category.

Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame is a compelling historical fiction novel sharing 13-year-old Meera’s journey in 1857 India. Meera’s parents married her to a neighbor boy in alignment with their religious beliefs. As Meera prepares to live with her new husband and family, Indian rebels burn the British ammunition depot in Delhi, and Meera’s husband is killed in the riots. Meera is asked to perform Sati, a religious practice in which she follows her deceased husband in death by throwing herself into her husband’s funeral pyre. But Meera runs away to save her life, knowing she will shame her family forever. She finds the courage to locate the British ammunition and help the rebels free India from British tyranny. This novel explores the gender discrimination and inequities that women face when making life decisions.

Rez Dogs is a timely verse novel set during the coronavirus pandemic on the Wabanaki reservation about a girl named Malian, her grandparents, and a dog that becomes her best friend. Bruchac illustrates how American history has silenced the stories of indigenous people, including forced sterilization, boarding schools, family separation, and colonization. Malian is vocal and confident in her indigenous identity, thinks deeply, and makes hard choices. She challenges her teacher to recognize her own racist beliefs, providing a clear and hopeful message that all people can change when they acknowledge their own biased beliefs and commit to rejecting bigotry and embracing diversity.

A national committee chose the winner and honor books for younger and older children. Members of the 2022 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Selection Committee are: Jenice Mateo-Toledo (chair, NY), Josefa Bustos Pelayo (co-chair, CA); Shanetia Clark (MD), Melissa García Vega (PR), Kharissa Kenner (NY), Jackie Marshall Arnold (OH), Nanesha Nuñez (NY), Ruth E. Quiroa (IL), Jade Valenzuela (NM), Barbara A. Ward (ID), and Jongsun Wee (MN).

Jane Addams Peace Association