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

New Year, New Books

New year, new books

Happy new year!

Some people started the year with a long list that may or may not include helping with homework, playing board games, bandaging knees and cooking.  Whether you have a long or short list or no list at all, whether you are starting the year relaxed or overwhelmed, we hope your new year starts off with lots of time to read. 

“She Caught the Light: Williamina Stevens Fleming: Astronomer” by Kathyrn Lasky and Julianna Swaney is a great book to start off 2022.   Williamina Stevens Fleming, a single parent, devised the classification system that helped map the universe for future astronomers at a time when women weren’t even permitted to look through telescopes!

Wishing you a year filled with lots of light, peace, care and good books. 

Stay tuned, Jane Addams Children’s Book Award winning and Honor titles will be announced very soon!

In this newsletter ,we focus on 2022 Jane Addams Children’s Book finalists for younger readers.

Have you met our new executive director yet?

A new year’s message

from Executive Director, Angela Medina:

A very special thanks to the Jane Addams Peace Association Children’s Book Award Selection Committee for their dedication, and hundreds of hours of reading to select our 2022 finalists! I have ended 2021 and started the new year reading these powerful and engaging books written by our Children’s Book Award 2022 finalists! Please go to your local library and/or local independent bookstore and pick up a copy of any of the 24 finalist books. 
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Wishing you all peace, health, love, and time to cuddle up with good books! 

Angela Medina
Executive Director
Jane Addams Peace Association 

Thank you,  Selection Committee!

Over 500 books were read by the amazing selection committee to arrive at 24 finalists! This diverse set of activists, educators, parents, and teachers engages in a year-long process that strives to be democratic, intersectional, and representative!  We celebrate, commend and appreciate the thoughtful hard work of the selection committee!

For the new year, every year and every day,

For every young girl and person who’s been told they are “too this and too that” here’s an empowering book of inspiration.

“Ambitious Girl” by Meena Harris and Marissa Valdez is a celebration of girl-power, overcoming obstacles, finding inspiration in role models, and pursuing dreams and ambitions.  It’s about strong women, finding one’s confidence, and not being discouraged by others’ judgment.

As a parent, Meena Harris, “felt a new sense of urgency to make sure her young daughters- and girls all over – would have the tools and language to reframe, redefine, and reclaim what they will inevitably hear in the ‘real world’…”

Be sure to read the author’s note!

Different ways to be strong!


Start some conversations with young people about the meaning of strength.  In “Be Strong” with help from her family, Tanisha learns that by showing up, speaking up, and not giving up, she can be strong too and that people are the strongest when they work together and trust each other.  

By Pat Zietlow Miller and Jen

Changing the World

“Ensuring justice for all people,” started when a teacher wanted to punish young Marshall by making him read the constitution.  In addition to learning about Thurgood Marshall and feeling inspired and empowered to change unjust laws, young people can have deep discussions about the structure of the Supreme Court, its importance, and how and why it changes over time. “The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s LIfe, Leadership, and Legacy” by Kela Magoon and Laura Freeman invites the kind of dialogue that can lead to action about changing the world and working for justice.

In 2022 nineteen states will require Holocaust education as part of their secondary school curricula.  Maine will start in 2023. Here’s an important contribution for a wide age range of young people.

“Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued” written and illustrated by Peter Sís is an inspiring and emotional story that can contribute to deep conversations about why, how, and under what circumstances people leave their homeland, and how impactful we can be when we do something to help others.  

Peter Sis’ cohesive storytelling and beautiful illustrations convey parallel/intersecting stories of Vera and Nicky during and after World War II.  Find out how Nicky saved 669 children from the Nazis (unbeknownst to him) and be sure to check out the author’s note in the back pages. 


“And when she sang of Black children– you lovely, precious dreams– her voice sounded like hope.”

Black children and all young people will find hope, history, and harmony in this beautifully written and illustrated picture book about the life of the icon Nina Simone and how her music came to become the soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement.

“Nina Simone” by Traci  N. Todd and Christian Robinson is seamlessly written, in an age-appropriate way.  Make sure to also check out the excellent back matter “About Nina Simone”.

Opening the Road

The Green Book opened the road or highway for so many Black Americans to have safer passage to travel.  

“Opening the Road: Victor Hugo Green and hIs Green Book” by Keila V. Dawson and Alleanna Harris opens the road to learning about racism in history that many haven’t learned while celebrating Black Excellence.  Learn about the creation and distribution of the Green Book and Hugo Green’s decision to publish this booklet in the 1930s when even traveling in New York was challenging for many Black Americans, reminding and teaching that it wasn’t just the South that had restrictions. This account makes it clear that even everyday experiences such as needing gas, food, medical attention or a place to spend the night while on a road trip could be problematic decades ago and that “The fight against racism still had and still has a long way to go.”

Freedom for Who?


“Why do you run, Ona Judge?”

A powerful repeated escalating question addresses the shameful narrative that “slavery wasn’t that bad” especially for people who worked in the homes of the enslavers.   “Runaway: The Daring Escape of Ona Rudge” by Ray Anthony Shepard and Keith Mallett is a lyrical rhythmic poem that tells the story of Ona Judge, a biracial enslaved servant of George and Martha Washington focusing on her “good life” from the perspective of her enslavers, painting a clear picture of our forefathers as men who state that “all men are created equal”,  yet did not believe in freedom for ALL.


Shirley Chisholm was an outspoken little girl who never stopped asking questions, stood her ground, pushed boundaries of what was “proper” and grew up to be the trailblazing Shirley Chisholm. “Shirley Chisholm Dared” by Alicia D. Williams and April Harrison explains a tough choice many Caribbean parents face– leaving their children in their home countries and working in the United States to give them a better life.  Learn more about the daring rebellious persistent questioning of Shirley Chisholm in a beautiful picture book that integrated primary source information and photographs.

Fighting and Painting for Justice

Read about the many ways Ben Shahn questioned the status quo and was concerned about justice. In “The People’s Painter: How Ben Shanh Fought for Justice with Art” by Cynthia Levison and Evan Turk. Young people and all people will be inspired by how Ben and his family spoke out for fairer wages for workers and faced reprisals from the czar.  Later despite being urged to paint landscapes and not tell stories through his artwork, despite threats from the FBI, Ben depicted unfairness, outsiders, prisoners, Jews, child workers, and others who had been mistreated, always humanizing them in his pictures. 

Seeking Justice.

This beautifully illustrated book talks about a painful piece of our history that many are unfamiliar with.  Start deep dialogue about racism, Black lives matter, and making a better community while becoming informed about what happened in Tulsa and why Viola and others have lived through this massacre every day. “Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre”   by Carole Boston Weatherford and the late Floyd Cooper (who heard this story from his grandfather) connects the present and past in a way that children can understand. 


“We are still here.”

Young people & all people will learn about and understand some important and often missing historical topics specific to Native Nations’ experiences that continue to affect Native people today in “We are Still Here: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know” by Traci Sorrell and Frané Lessac. Don’t miss the timeline and glossary in the back pages.

“Legal System Fuels Missing Relative Crisis: The scope of missing Indigenous people is even broader when considering ongoing family separations and forced assimilation” Read the full article in Indian Country Today.

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Because of your support we have surpassed our annual fundraising goal! Thank you!  And it’s not too late to contribute; your gift of any amount will help to support the meaningful work of the Jane Addams Peace Association in 2022. 

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