This September, as students return to school, we have an opportunity for change and community building.
These past few years have brought hardships and setbacks for many people across the world, from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to the never-ending fight towards social justice and equality. It is important now more than ever that we come together and support one another.
We must prepare for the questions students may have about the ever-changing world around them. While these discussions may be challenging, it is important that we continue to engage in dialogue with young people about the trials and tribulations we see in the world and what we can do to make it better.
Jane Addams worked to help young people participate widely in the world, grounded in compassionate, creative visions of human possibility. The Jane Addams Peace Association believes that our children’s book award winners and honorees can help teachers, librarians and caregivers to continue in that spirit through discussion and questioning, and help young people see that they have the power to change the world around them.
We share these books and resources to invite young people to be a part of those tough conversations and to ask ourselves: How can we work with and learn from others to make a positive difference in our communities and the world?
by Duncan Tonatiuh
Seven years before Brown v. Board of Education, the Mendez family fought to end segregation in California schools. When her family moved to the town of Westminster, California, young Sylvia Mendez was excited about enrolling in her neighborhood school. But she and her brothers were turned away and told they had to attend the Mexican school instead. Sylvia could not understand why—she was an American citizen who spoke perfect English. Unable to get a satisfactory answer from the school board, the Mendez family decided to take matters into their own hands and organize a lawsuit. Using his signature illustration style and incorporating his interviews with Sylvia Mendez, as well as information from court files and news accounts, award-winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh tells the inspiring story of the Mendez family’s fight for justice and equality.
by Veera Hiranandani
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.
by Wade Hudson, Cheryl Willis Hudson, and Torrey Maldonado
As long as racist ideas persist, families will continue to have the difficult and necessary conversations with their young ones on the subject. Thirty diverse, award-winning authors and illustrators invite you into their homes to witness the conversations they have with their children about race in America today in this powerful call-to-action that invites all families to be anti-racists and advocates for change. Featuring text and images filled with love, acceptance, truth, peace, and an assurance that there can be hope for a better tomorrow, The Talk is a stirring anthology and must-have resource published in partnership with Just Us Books, a Black-owned children’s publishing company that’s been in operation for over thirty years.
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.
You can find resources associated with each of our winning and honor books on
Jane Addams Peace Association is committed to uplifting and supporting local organizations that share our mission to deepen understanding of peace and justice for children and their adults through reflection, dialogue, and social action.
Below are two women-owned bookstores that aim to make a difference in their community. We encourage you all to check them out.
Yu and Me Books
Yu and Me Books is located at 44 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013
Located in Chinatown, Manhattan, Yu and Me Books is the first female owned Asian-American bookstore in NYC that showcases immigrant stories and creates a home for the community. Yu and Me Books is a bookstore / café / bar that focuses on the strong, diverse voices of different communities, with a focus on immigrant stories. The space was created for people who are often ignored, to dream together, share their passion, strive for change, and push systems closer to justice. With their carefully curated books and offerings of beer, wine and coffee, Yu and Me Books has cultivated a safe community space to sip, read, and foster some amazing conversations!
Semicolon Bookstore and Gallery
Semicolon Bookstore and Gallery is located at 1714 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622
Based in Chicago, Black woman-owned bookstore and gallery space, Semicolon Bookstore and Gallery is committed to nurturing the connection between literature, art, and the pursuit of knowledge; while also using the power of words to better their community. They are committed to having a direct impact in raising literacy rates in Chicago and beyond. To initiate this change, they have invited Chicago Public School students to their store every month to #ClearTheShelves. Free of charge, students can take home whatever books they’d like. Semicolon Bookstore and Gallery are investing in our youth, one book at a time.
WELCOME OUR NEW SOCIAL MEDIA AND MARKETING COORDINATOR!
Yettiii Johnson is a filmmaker and organizer from the southside of Chicago with a passion for storytelling. She is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago, receiving her B.A. in Cinema and Television Arts in 2020.
Yettiii is currently the Operations Manager for Mezcla Media Collective, a non-profit hub for independent non-binary and WOC filmmakers in Chicago. She is also an Associate Producer at Full Spectrum Features, an organization committed to driving equity in the independent film industry by producing, exhibiting, and supporting the work of women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ filmmakers.
Yettiii believes that it is crucial to tell the stories of the people who are often forgotten by mainstream and popular media, so that we can learn more about the people and communities around us. Her overall goal is to make content that matters and to help the people around her make their visions come to life. She hopes to enlighten artists and youth and help them realize their full potential as storytellers and agents of change.
Welcome to the Jane Addams Peace Association team, Yettiii!
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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.
Through our Books In Their Hands program we bring authors and illustrators to low income schools nationally to share their Jane Addams award books. We also donate Jane Addams Children’s Book Award commended titles into the hands of children. This season we are focusing on giving books to Chicago Public School students.
Your donation to the Jane Addams Peace Association (a 501-c-3) is tax-deductible and helps us support authors, illustrators, parents, teachers, and librarians deepen understanding of peace and justice for children and their adults through reflection, dialogue, and social action.