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

So Many Firsts! Social Justice Books and Resources for 2020 and Beyond

Kamala Harris’ election sets the stage for all our children to see themselves as future leaders!

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris paid tribute to the women, particularly Black women, whose shoulders she stands on as she shatters barriers that have kept mostly white men entrenched at the highest levels of American politics for more than two centuries.

“Tonight I reflect on their struggle, their determination and the strength of their vision to see what can be unburdened by what has been,” Ms. Harris said, wearing a white suit in tribute to women’s suffrage. 

“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” Ms. Harris said in her first post-election address to the nation.

“We cannot live alone… And the thing that made this moment possible for you and for me has been brought about by many people whom we will never know.”

Marian Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 explaining why she altered the lyric “Of thee I sing” to “Of thee we sing.”

Did you know Marian Anderson was the first African American to perform at the New York Metropolitan Opera?  

You might be wondering about now who will sing at a Biden/Harris inauguration during a pandemic. Marian Anderson sang at the inaugurations of two presidents: Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. 

Get to know the story of the courage and tenacity of Marian Anderson and 49 other brave African American women some of whose names are well known and others whose names and contributions have often been left out of history classes in Brave. Black. First. By Cheryl Willis Hudson, illustrated by Erin K. Robinson.

Introduce children to Shirley Chisholm!

“The people of Brooklyn chose Shirley to REPRESENT them!  She became the first Black woman ever elected to Congress. Shirley TRAVELED to Washington, DC. There wasn’t a single person who looked like her. It was a lonely time. Being the first and only often is.”

She was the first Black person, and the first woman, to make a serious bid for the presidency.

“The next time a woman of whatever color, or a dark-skinned person of whatever sex aspires to be president, the waysohould be a little smoother because I helped PAVE it.”

It was always her intention to throw the doors of government wide open. And she did!

Read about Shirley Chisholm in Shirley Chisholm is a Verb (2020 Finalist for Younger Children) by Veronica Chamers and Rachelle Baker. Help children think and make connections with more firsts and how people can work for power and equality for women and all people throughout the world.

Wondering who will be the next labor Secretary? Be sure children know about Frances Perkins!

Help children learn about the first woman labor secretary, how people can work for power and equality for women and all people throughout the world and put current events in context historically by reading The Only Woman in the Photo: Frances Perkins & Her New Deal for America (2020 Finalist for Younger Children) by Kathleen Krull and Alexandra Bye.

They will meet Frances Perkins, the first woman labor secretary during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933-1945, and learn how she worked for children’s, immigrants,  & workers’ rights, suffrage, and more.

Janet Yellin would be the first woman to head the Treasury Department. Neera Tanden, a South Asian American, would be the first woman of color to lead OMB, the agency that oversees the federal budget.

Connect young people with neglected history of the success and struggle for equal rights with the ongoing fight for equality today.

Finish the Fight (2020 Finalist for Older Children) is the perfect book to connect the too often neglected history of the successes and struggles for equal rights with the current triumphs and ongoing fight for equality.

Finish the Fight teaches and invites further dialogue about other firsts but not lasts: the role of Haudenosaunee women, the founder and editor of the first newspaper in the United States started by a Black woman, an influential Black writer, and speaker who refused to stand up on a streetcar in 1850, a 16-year-old Chinese American who led one of the biggest suffrage parades in US history and so many more.

Finish the Fight also is so great for teaching representation, biography, text features, and more. 

So many firsts! 

The first female vice-president elect

The first Black vice-president elect

The first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency

The first time some people will learn about Native American, Black, Latinx, and queer suffragists who helped make suffrage a reality for ALL women thanks to Finish the Fight by Veronica Chambers & the staff of the New York Times as well as many of the 50 women highlighted in Brave. Black. First. By Cheryl Willis Hudson, illustrated by Erin K. Robinson.


The first time the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award has publicized the finalists (and how glorious to highlight a greater number of exemplary children’s books that can deepen understanding of peace & justice!)

27 New Social Justice Books with Associated Resources for Each

Yes! This is our first year announcing our finalists publicly!

Thanks to our partnership with Teachingbooks.net you can access teaching resources for all 27 titles via our website!

See below how you can read about and listen to authors and illustrators, help young writers learn where writers get ideas and find inspiration for their own writing, and so much more!

Winning and honor titles will be chosen from among these Finalists and will be announced on January 15, 2021. We plan a virtual award ceremony for April 28th, 2021 at which time we will feature winning and honor authors and illustrators and present honorariums. Stay tuned!!

Click on each poster for a full list of titles for the category.

Click here for easy steps to accessing resources for each of these titles.

It’s December.  You might want to check these out.

From Teaching Tolerance: Rethinking Winter Holidays

  • Avoiding the Holiday Balance Traps
  • The December Dilemma
  • Analyzing the School Holiday Calendar

From Liz Kleinrock of Teach and Transform

Teaching Tolerance


Liz Kleinrock @teachandtransform

And support her work on Patreon

And did you know the Jane Addams Peace Association is 

@janeaddamspeaceassociation  ?!?

Jane Addams was an activist and the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Portrait of American social worker Jane Addams (1860 – 1935), early 1900s. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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. We sponsor the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award and promote social justice narratives for all children. The Peace Association is actively expanding our work of supporting children and their adults— authors, illustrators, teachers, librarians, parents, community workers—through increased recognition of books, access to related resources, and youth engagement.

Please donate to help in this work! Our goal is to raise $10,000 by December 31st! Your gift of any amount will be so gratefully welcomed now and in an ongoing way.

Please give by visiting: https://japa-198720.square.site/

Jane Addams Peace Association