Message from the Jane Addams Peace Association’s Executive Director
In honor of Pride month, the Jane Addams Peace Association reaffirms its commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community.
We stand with teachers, educators, and parents who refuse to be bullied and silenced. We stand for acceptance, diversity, and the celebration of all people through books for children.
We stand against book bans, attacks on healthcare access, and laws that allow ignorance to replace equality.
Ignorance leads to violence. Exposure leads to understanding. The Jane Addams Peace Association’s “Books in Their Hands” program brings diverse stories to children, giving them the opportunity to learn, discuss, and engage in conversation about equity, peace and social justice.
In the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda, Love is Love is love, is love.
Happy Pride Month to my fellow LGBTQIA+ community and allies!
The Jane Addams Peace Association Honors the LGBTQIA+ Community
The month of June is Pride Month, and the Jane Addams Peace Association is dedicated to uplifting LGBTQIA+ people, voices, and culture this month and every day after. During her lifetime, Jane Addams fought ceaselessly for the rights of the disenfranchised in Chicago and around the world. She was also a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and used the Hull-House Settlement to bring members of the community to safety and provide resources to them.
The Hull-House Settlement was considered a “Queer Domesticity,” a term created by author and academic, Shannon Jackson. While many people were married with children, people in the Hull-House neighborhood and in the settlement house were creating their own meaning of family. While Jane Addams never married and never had children, she was in a long-term relationship with her life partner, Mary Rozet Smith a volunteer Kindergarten teacher.
Throughout history and still today, LGBTQIA+ voices are censored and concealed. In this June newsletter, we are highlighting books and authors that center and celebrate LGBTQIA+ people and changemakers to better understand their experiences within a heteronormative society, and how we can stand against prejudice to ensure the safety, comfort, and equality of all people.
Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? (2019 Honor Book for Younger Children)
Alice Austen Lives Here by Alex Gino
Sam is very in touch with their own queer identity. They’re nonbinary, and their best friend, TJ, is nonbinary as well. However, things are hard when it comes to Sam’s history class, because their teacher seems to believe that only Dead Straight Cis White Men are responsible for history. When there’s a contest for a new statue, Sam finds the perfect non-DSCWM subject: photographer Alice Austen, whose house has been turned into a museum, and who lived with a female partner for decades. Soon, Sam’s project isn’t just about winning the contest, it’s about discovering a rich queer history that Sam’s a part of. (2023 Finalist, Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, Books for Older Children)
The Mother of a Movement: Jeanne Manford – Ally, Activist, and Founder of PFLAG by Rob Sanders, illus. by Sam Kalda
The Mother of a Movement tells the story of Jeanne Manford, the founder of PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). When her son Morty was beaten by New York City officials for handing out pro-gay leaflets, Manford wrote a powerful letter to the New York Post to complain. In the letter, she came out as the mother of a gay son. Morty invited his mother to march with him in the June 1972 Christopher Street Parade. While marching, she had the idea to form a group to help parents and families of LGBTQ+ people. That was the beginning of PFLAG. (2023 Finalist, Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, Books for Younger Children)
The Civil War of Amos Abernathy by Michael Leali
Amos Abernathy lives for history. But when a cute new volunteer arrives at his Living History Park, Amos finds himself wondering if there’s something missing from history: someone like the two of them. His search turns up Albert D. J. Cashier, a Civil War soldier who might have identified as a trans man if he’d lived today. Soon Amos starts confiding in his newfound friend by writing letters in his journal—and hatches a plan to share Albert’s story with his divided twenty-first century town. It may be an uphill battle, but it’s one that Amos is ready to fight. (2023 Finalist, Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, Books for Older Children)
King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender
King is a 12-year-old Black boy living in the bayou of Louisiana with his mom, dad, and the memories of his dead older brother, Khalid. Because he idolized Khalid, King always followed the advice his brother gave him, including dropping his friendship with Sandy, a white boy in King’s class rumored to be gay and who King later outed. He wants to believe his brother was perfect, but Khalid’s advice about King’s friendship with Sandy was hurtful and wrong. In acknowledging the truth of this, and in his struggle to be seen and heard by his parents, King shines as his own singular self: young and gay, compassionate and sensitive, moving toward Black manhood on his own terms.
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:
Ways to Fight Against the Banning of Books
The Jane Addams Peace Association stands with everyone who protects and defends the First Amendment to the Constitution and supports the right of libraries to collect — and individuals to access — information. Here are ways that you can join the fight against banning books:
- Volunteer/Serve on a Board – Serve on your local school, library, or city council/board. For appointed positions, apply; for elected positions, run. Every civil body operates differently, so get to know how these positions work, how often you’re expected to attend meetings, and what your role may be in the broader community.
- Write Letters – Can’t show up to meetings? Email your city council, email your library’s administration, and email the school librarian. Tell them you love what they’re doing and why. These letters will show up in board packets and reports, as proof of the vitality of the organization and how it serves its community.
- Submit Materials Requests – Most public libraries allow users to submit titles for the collection. Let your library know you want books by authors of color and queer authors. Submitting requests makes it clear to purchasers that these materials are requested and allows a paper trail to exist as evidence of this community need.
- Correct Misinformation – Speak out and write in when misinformation about your library, its materials, or its actions are shared. This misinformation is what many will latch onto and use as a means of denigrating the library and its work, then it is wielded to fit the white supremacist agenda.
“Books in Their Hands” Goes to Stamford
Last month, the Jane Addams Peace Association visited Stamford, Connecticut, for our “Books in Their Hands” program with Angela Joy, author of the 2023 Jane Addams Award Book Winner, Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement. In partnership with the 100 Black Men of Stamford and Stamford Public Schools, we were able to meet and engage with hundreds of students from Stamford Public Schools.
The mission of Stamford Public Schools (SPS) is to provide an education that cultivates productive habits of mind, body and heart in every student. Their overall vision is to challenge, inspire and prepare all students to be productive contributing members of society.
The 100 Black Men is a national organization founded in New York City over 20 years ago with the idea of creating a group of African American men who intended to make a difference in the lives of kids. The 100 Black Men of Stamford, Inc. was founded in 1993, as a non-profit community action organization of successful men committed to improving the educational and economic conditions for African Americans and others in need, with a particular focus on the development of youth.
We would like to sincerely thank everyone for their participation and support for this visit. If you are part of a Title 1/low-income school, you are eligible to apply for the “Books in Their Hands” program. 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. As a part of our “Books in Their Hands” program, we also donate Jane Addams Children’s Book Award commended titles to each student in your classroom.
Under the Umbrella
511 W. 200 S., Suite 120 | Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Under the Umbrella Bookstore is a queer bookstore located in Salt Lake City, Utah that specifically caters to the LGBTQIA+ community, providing a safe space for LGBTQIA+ folks of all ages to congregate and celebrate their stories. Under the Umbrella stocks books across all genres and for all ages, including current and classic fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels, and more. Every book in their store is either LGBTQIA+ in content and/or written by LGBTQIA+ authors, with a focus on books by small presses and self-published LGBTQIA+ authors that you won’t find in general bookstores.
Under the Umbrella flips the script on the traditional prioritization of the publishing industry by further prioritizing the works and stories of Black LGBTQIA+ creatives —especially Black transgender women—Indigenous and other LGBTQIA+ people of color, disabled people, fat people, two-spirit people, intersex people, asexual and aromantic people, incarcerated LGBTQIA+ people, LGBTQIA+ sex workers, and other identities within the LGBTQIA+ community that experience further marginalization, even within their own community.
Learn more about them here: https://www.undertheumbrellabookstore.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.”