We envision a future where people actively work to dismantle injustices and build a more peaceful, equitable world.

April is a time of Regrowth and Hope. With Love and Hope, we can Rock the Boat!

It’s the season of spring: Earth day, Passover, Ramadan, International Women Day, Deaf History Month, as well as water, workers’ rights, sexual assault awareness, and the first openly transgender Federal Official & first Native American Interior Secretary!

It’s the season of celebration. Register now for the April 28th Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Virtual Ceremony. Learn more below.

AND there’s been a blazingly blatant continuation of hate, discrimination, hurt and murder of Asian American Pacific Islander, Black, Brown and migrant people.

This month and every month, we focus on hope, renewal and growth so we can joyfully recommit to working for social justice.

In Rock the Boat in Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice, Elizabeth Acevedo helps young people and their adults find strength and joy in the struggle.

“…my own personal ethos is the Y.A. requires hope.”

Elizabeth Acevedo’s words offer hope, bring smiles, inspire more poetry writing & invite the kind of deep thinking that leads to social change.

Read interviews and more about Elizabeth Acevedo on our website (link to “Woke” above) and read the full “By the Book” New York Times interview here.

Take courage with love and hope for the Earth’s water.

“We are Water Protectors” by Carole Lindstrom and Michaela Goade gorgeously and poetically compels us to rise up, to resist, to join together to protect and safeguard the Earth’s water from harm and corruption.

Young people (and adults) can take the Earth Steward and Water Protector Pledge on the last page of the book. Also find it on our website here.

Include “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park and “Ocean Speaks” by Jess Keating and Katie Hickey for three very different books that invite deep thought, discussion, action, and the celebration of water.

“I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, we can’t eat money or drink oil.”

Autumn Peltier, anishinaabe-kwe water protector

So “We fight for those who cannot fight for themselves:

The winged ones,

The crawling ones….”

Water books can help young people understand the connection between environmental rights, Indigenous rights, and workers’ rights. AND thoughtful poetry and prose and vivid illustrations invoke joy, hope, and appreciation.

With love, hope and courage, take action for workers’ rights.

Many of the workers at the Shirtwaist Factory were immigrant women. When the factory burned in 1911, one hundred forty-six workers were killed as a result of neglected safety features and locked doors. Invite young people to engage in the kind of deep thinking that will lead to action around women’s rights, workers’ rights, and immigrants’ rights and connect this history with current events.

Read more in “Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909” by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet and “The Only Woman in the Photo: Frances Perkins and Her New Deal for America” by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Alexandra Bye.

These biographies celebrate women who rocked the boat for safe working conditions, equality, and the worth and importance of women, immigrants, and all workers.

“Real Education should consist of drawing the goodness and the best out of our own students. What better books can there be than the book of humanity?”

Cesar Chavez

… the book of humanity with a good mix of Jane Addams social justice books!

Celebrate Cesar Chavez and Delores Huerta in Napa, California and everywhere!
Learning and recommitting to the fight to advance workers’ rights brings hope!

If we can just convince other people to get involved, this could make some major changes in our society. It’s very exhilarating.

Dolores Huerta

Help children think deeply about empathy so they can have hope and lovingly rock the boat for social justice.

The first day of Ramadan is April 12.

Make connections to the hate and discrimination in our history and today.

People who speak up give us hope!

“Fred Korematsu Speaks Up” by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi illustrates the history and connection of discrimination against Black, Chinese, Mexican, Muslim, and Japanese people. Inspire hope in young people and all people by learning about how one person can speak up for themselves, for a group, and for others, how to work collectively with crowds and with lawyers, and inspire the kind of thinking that leads to action for justice. This book is a biography and narrative and is full of timelines, photos, definitions, and thought-provoking questions.

Say, believe and live Grace Lin’s important message to her daughter that Asian American girls and women are powerful human beings.

Work against racism and misogyny all year. True peace means more than ending violence; it means ensuring justice for all people. Stopping hate against Asian and Asian American people means respecting and understanding differences and celebrating their worth and importance.

Read all of Grace Lin’s letter to her daughter in “The Talk: Conversations about Race, Love & Truth” by Wade Hudson & Cheryl Willis Hudson to uplift AAPI voices, to better understand the past and present and act with hope and love to change the future.

How do children think about Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander people?

Invite children to expand their view beyond stereotypes by reading and having deep discussion about books that celebrate and center the diversity that is the AAPI community. Read books that show a wide range of achievements and emotions for all people that move beyond gender-role stereotypes. Books can be a helpful, hopeful joyful tool to help children see the harm and limitations of stereotyping.

Books can give us hope to take action for social justice.

Inclusion of Asian people in the books we read and the history we learn is not only for after a tragedy.

Read about Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, Chinese suffragist and activist who fought for the passage of the 19th amendment even though she would be unable to vote because of the US Chinese Exclusion Act.

Read more in In “Finish the Fight: The Brave and Revolutionary Women who Fought for the Right to Vote by Veronica Chambers and the New York Times Staff.

Spring isn’t the only time to celebrate the contributions of deaf Americans to US society and culture and promote awareness of Deaf Culture in America but it’s a good time to remember to do so.

Deaf culture & history as well as land rights, identity and racism are just some conversations “Show me a Sign” by Anne Clare Lezotte will inspire.

And Spring isn’t the only time to raise awareness about sexual violence, education about its true cause, how to prevent it & how to support those who are affected by it, but it’s also a good time to remember to do so.

Nevaeh’s words about living in a car are a hopeful reminder that books help young people (and all people) know they’re not alone.

See a great resource below in the “Check these Out” section for how to talk with young people about consent.

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s “Fighting Words” is one of those books. It helps people understand, empathize, respond, speak up & take action around sexual abuse and consent.


Find these books and more on our website.

You can find resources associated with each of our winning and honor books from Teachingbooks.net. For resources for the recent Finalists, Winners, and Honor Books just click through on the book. For all other books go to Browse Books.

April 28 is a time to celebrate!

Join us at the virtual Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Ceremony hosted by Mazza Musuem. By registering you will receive a link to the live ceremony via zoom as well as a follow up link to the recorded event.

RSVP here!

Who was Jane Addams?

Jane Addams had hope and courage to change unsafe living conditions.

Jane Addams was a founding member of the NAACP and the International League for Peace & Freedom, an activist, a suffragist, a writer, and the second women to win the Nobel Peace Prize; those are some of the many reasons there is a children’s book award in her name!

Check out how Liz Kleinrock and her third grades addressed consent in this Learning for Justice article.

See Linda Sue Park’s AAPI love book recommendations

For hope and inspiration for teaching about social justice and the power of the written word during poetry month and every month check out Linda Christensen’s “Reading, Writing and Rising Up” available at Rethinking Schools. Use discount POETRY21 to get 20% off all Rethinking Schools books and magazine subscriptions.

For history, background, solidarity and many helpful teaching resources, check out “Dear Educators, it is Time to Fight for Asian America” an article by Wayne Au and Moé Yonamine in Rethinking Schools.

Follow us on social media for more resources and book suggestions

Know of a good book published or to be published in 2021 that helps children engage in deep dialogue that leads to positive change? 

Take a look at the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award criteria and guidelines here and submit your book suggestion here! Thank you!

Jane Addams Peace Association