On July 4, 1776, 13 colonies claimed their independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. Each year on the 4th of July, also known as Independence Day, Americans celebrate this historic event.
However, the Declaration of Independence did not speak for all people. While the Declaration of Independence declared “that all men are created equal,” endowed with the right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” the laws that followed did not apply to Black or Native Americans, nor women.
July 4th should be a day when we renew our determination to strive for “liberty and justice for all”, not a day for patting ourselves on the back for achieving those ideals for a privileged few. Let’s continue to speak out and speak up about the injustices that people continue to face and continue our fight for justice for all.
Jane Addams Peace Association’s Summer Reading List
It’s time for summer reading lists, reading programs, and reading challenges! Get your kids reading this month with these Jane Addams Book Award Winners and Honor Book recommendations:
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López
There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it. Author Jacqueline Woodson and illustrator Rafael López teamed up to create a poignant, yet heartening book about finding courage to connect, even when you feel scared and alone.
Be Strong by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Jen Hill
When her gym class must face the school rock-climbing wall, Tanisha is discouraged. Her muscles are weak, and she knows she’ll never reach the top like Cayla. But maybe strength is about more than just muscles. 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.
Starfish by Lisa Fipps
Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she’s been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules–like “no making waves,” “avoid eating in public,” and “don’t move so fast that your body jiggles.” And she’s found her safe space–her swimming pool–where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It’s also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie’s weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life–by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.
Linked by Gordon Korman
Link, Michael, and Dana live in a quiet town. But it’s woken up very quickly when someone sneaks into school and vandalizes it with a swastika. Nobody can believe it. How could such a symbol of hate end up in the middle of their school? Who would do such a thing? The mystery deepens as more swastikas begin to appear. Some students decide to fight back and start a project to bring people together instead of dividing them further. The closer Link, Michael, and Dana get to the truth, the more there is to face–not just the crimes of the present, but the crimes of the past.
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:
Board of Directors Application is Now Open
Applications for the Jane Addams Peace Association’s Board of Directors are now open! It is our mission to deepen understanding of peace and justice for children and their adults through reflection, dialogue, and social action.
Board members are the fiduciaries who steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies, as well as by making sure the non-profit has adequate resources to advance its mission.
With a mission dedicated to serving the public, we seek a broad-based diverse Board as defined by race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, appearance, geographic location, professional level, size and category of organization currently affiliated with, etc. All of which represents the fabric of our communities, and the wide range of constituencies that we serve.
208 Fayetteville St., Suite 201, Raleigh, N.C. 27601
Last month, the Liberation Station, North Carolina’s first Black-owned children’s bookstore, had their official grand opening for its bricks-and-mortar location in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. Since 2019, the Liberation Station, founded by children’s book author, Victoria Scott-Miller, has trail-blazed the industry as an independent, globally recognized children’s bookstore. At their core, they believe in making representation accessible and amplifying Black voices and thrive by seeking unconventional spaces to promote literacy, and pioneer creative programming that will ensure Black children are seeing themselves and being seen.
“This is our love letter to the city of Raleigh,” Scott-Miller said. “It’s time to plant ourselves. When I think about our work, I think about a tree. We’ve done all this work. We’ve had all this reach but it’s been from the top down. We haven’t been able to physically plant ourselves. Now we get to create a unique cultural hub that is a community-centered, community-driven space for self-discovery and the activation of our work.”
Students, Parents, and Authors Fight Back Against Book Bans
As reported by NBC News last month, six Florida students, their parents and two authors sued a central Florida school district for banning students’ access to a children’s book about two male penguins who raise a baby penguin together, And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson.
The district said at the time that its decision was based on Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade “or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” Governor Ron DeSantis signed the measure, which critics dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law, in March 2022.
As we continue to fight against the banning of books, let’s remember the words of authors Carole Boston Weatherford and Alicia D. Williams from the 2022 Jane Addams Peace Association Award Ceremony: Book banning has always existed and the best way to push back is to continue to do this work.
“By discriminating based on content and viewpoint, it infringes the authors’ right to freedom of expression,” the suit says. “By restricting access to a book, which was previously freely available, for narrowly partisan and political reasons, it infringes students’ right to receive information.”
Learn more about how to fight against book bans here:
The Jane Addams Peace Association is Now Platinum
The Jane Addams Peace Association has just earned our Platinum Candid Seal of Transparency with Guidestar. GuideStar is the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations. They gather and provide access to the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and accurate nonprofit information available.
Check out our #NonprofitProfile to see the great work we do for our community. We want to make sure you have the progress updates you need to confidently support our work with trust and confidence.
Support Our Work
Author of Choosing Brave, Angela Joy (center) visited the students of Stamford, Conn., thanks to a partnership with 100 Black Men of Stamford, as part of the Jane Addams Peace Association’s “Books in Their Hands” program.
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.”