Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI Heritage Month) is an annual celebration that recognizes the historical and cultural contributions to the United States, of individuals and groups of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. The AAPI umbrella term includes cultures from the entire Asian continent—including East, Southeast and South Asia—and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.
For the Jane Addams Peace Association, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is every month. Until everyone learns that U.S.A. history reflects this, and the contributions of AAPI people are regularly acknowledged and celebrated, this month is necessary. Here we highlight some books and resources to help propel understanding and action to eradicate oppression, discrimination, and violence against the AAPI community. We believe these books can increase understanding, dialogue and joy around diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander identities, culture, contributions and histories.
Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story
by Caren Stelson
This striking work of narrative nonfiction tells the true story of six-year-old Sachiko Yasui’s survival of the Nagasaki atomic bomb on August 9, 1945, and the heartbreaking and lifelong aftermath. Having conducted extensive interviews with Sachiko Yasui, Caren Stelson chronicles Sachiko’s trauma and loss as well as her long journey to find peace. This book offers readers a remarkable new perspective on the final moments of World War II and their aftermath.
Inside Out and Back Again
by Thanhha Lai
Inspired by the author’s childhood experience as a refugee—fleeing Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon and immigrating to Alabama—this coming-of-age debut novel told in verse has been celebrated for its touching child’s-eye view of family and immigration. Hà has only ever known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope—toward America.
A Place Where Sunflowers Grow
by Amy Lee-Tai, illustrated by Felicia Hoshino
Under the harsh summer sun, Mari’s art class has begun. But it’s hard to think of anything to draw in a place where nothing beautiful grows — especially a place like Topaz, the internment camp where Mari’s family and thousands of other Japanese Americans have been sent to live during World War II. Somehow, glimmers of hope begin to surface — in the eyes of a kindly art teacher, in the tender words of Mari’s parents, and in the smile of a new friend.
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:
70th Anniversary of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award
Since 1953, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards 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,” in order to inspire every generation in the spirit of Jane Addams.
The Jane Addams Peace Association celebrated the 70th anniversary of its Children’s Book Award, together with the Chicago Public Library, celebrating its 150th anniversary, on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 at the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our sponsors for their contributions toward and support of this event:
- The Hastings Peace & Justice Fund
- Tura Campanella Cook – Board of Directors (2011 – 2020)
- Susan Griffith – Selection Committee (2007 – 2010)
- Braylock for His Kingdom
- Release Heaven On Earth
- Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
- Candlewick Press
- HarperCollins Children’s Books
- Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
We would also like to thank the the authors, illustrators, and publishers of this year’s winning and honor books, our wonderful selection committee, the students and faculty of Chicago’s Bouchet International School, our amazing Board of Directors, and all of those who stand in community with us. Thank you all for making this event truly special!
Bel Canto Books
Bel Canto Books started as a monthly pop-up book club in 2018 and moved into a brick-and-mortar space inside The Hangout (2122 E 4th Street in Long Beach, CA) in November 2019. Founded by Jhoanna Belfer, a Filipina-American poet and former hospitality executive, Bel Canto Books offers a curated selection of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books, organized around a theme of the month, in particular celebrating books by women and people of color.
Every month they have their Burning Issues Book Club (BIBC), an online and local book club that gathers to read and discuss nonfiction works related to climate change, environmental degradation, environmental and social justice, and implementation of social change movements.
To find out more about Bel Canto Books, check out their website:
Apply for our Books in Their Hands program today!
The Jane Addams Peace Association’s mission is to “deepen understanding of peace and justice for children and their adults through reflection, dialogue, and social action.”
Through our Books in Their Hands program, we bring authors and illustrators to low-income schools nationally to share their Jane Addams award-winning books and to speak directly with the students and teachers in the community. We also donate to those students Jane Addams Children’s Book Award commended titles.
In the past, we have gone to schools in Chicago (IL), Fresno (CA), Brooklyn (NY) and Newark (NJ). Now we are ready to extend our hands to you! If you are a part of a Title 1/low-income school you can apply for the Book in Their Hands program now.
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 “deepen understanding of peace and justice for children and their adults through reflection, dialogue, and social action.”