Monday, May 01, 2006

2006 Jane Addams Children's Book Awards Announced

Winners of the 2006 Jane Addams Children's Book Awards have been announced by the Jane Addams Peace Association.

Delivering Justice: W. W. Law and the Fight for Civil Rights by Jim Haskins, illustrated by Benny Andrews (Candlewick, 2005)(excerpt) is the winner in the Books for Younger Children category. Mr. Law, a mail carrier by trade and a courageous activist by conviction, catalyzed and led his community in the peaceful integration of all public facilities in Savannah, Georgia in the 1940s and well beyond. Haskins traces Law’s impressive progress in succinct chapters, each accompanied by expressive oil-and-collage illustrations by Andrews.

Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX, the Law that Changed the Future of Girls in America by Karen Blumenthal (Atheneum, 2005)(excerpt) is the winner in the Books for Older Children category. Replete with photos, comic strips, and progress “score cards,” the book provides exciting moment-by-moment political coverage of the 1971 bill that ensures equal education for girls. The book is splendidly executed in design and documentation.

Poems to Dream Together/Poemas Para Soñar Juntos by Francisco X. Alarcón, illustrated by Paula Barragán (Lee & Low, 2005)(excerpt), has been named an honor book in the Books for Younger Children category. In nineteen short and heartfelt poems in Spanish and English, Alarcón encourages and inspires us to dream alone and to work and dream together, as families and communities, in order to make our hopes for a better world come true. The stylized paintings of Paula Barragán colorfully extend and interpret the theme.

Two books have won honors in the Books for Older Children category, each written as a prose poem: The Crazy Man by Pamela Porter (Groundwood, 2005) and Sweetgrass Basket by Marlene Carvell (Dutton, 2005).

The Crazy Man intertwines the emotional lives of an injured girl, a dazed mother, a runaway father, and a mental patient. Spare free-verse narration of twelve-year-old Emaline tells a story in which everyone is challenged to change in this 1960’s Saskatchewan community. Porter touchingly captures both the wide, lonely prairies and the closed minds central to the tension in this book.

Sweetgrass Basket is told in the alternating voices of two young Mohawk sisters. Each describes leaving her beloved home to be schooled in the notorious Carlisle Indian Industrial School, founded in 1879. Devoted to each other and their father, but opposite in personality and outlook, the sisters experience their virtual imprisonment differently: Mattie, rashly defiant, and Sarah, fearfully obedient until it’s too late to act.

Since 1953, the Jane Addams Children's Book Award annually acknowledges books published in the U.S. during the previous year. Books chosen effectively address themes or topics that promote peace, justice, world community, and/or equality of the sexes and all races. The books also must meet conventional standards of literary and artistic excellence.

Members of the 2005 Jane Addams Children's Book Awards Committee are Donna Barkman, Chair (Ossining, New York), Eliza T. Dresang (Tallahassee, Florida), Susan C. Griffith (Mt. Pleasant, Michigan), Margaret Jensen (Madison, Wisconsin), Jo Montie (Minneapolis, MN), Suzanne Martell (Harwich, Massachusetts), Sarah Park (Long Beach, California) Deborah Taylor (Baltimore, Maryland), Pat Wiser (Sewanee, Tennessee) and Lorrie Wright (Juneau, Alaska). Regional reading and discussion groups participated with many of the committee members throughout the jury’s evaluation and selection process.

The 2006 Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards will be presented Friday, October 20th in New York City. Details about the award event and about securing winner and honor book seals are available from the Jane Addams Peace Association. Contact JAPA Executive Director Linda B. Belle, 777 United Nations Plaza, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10017-3521; by phone 212.682.8830; and by e-mail japa@igc.org.

For additional information about the Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards and a complete list of books honored since 1953, see www.janeaddamspeace.org. For a March 2005 article about the awards, see www.ala.org/BookLinks.

Founded in 1948, JAPA is the educational arm of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). In addition to sponsoring the Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards and many other educational projects, JAPA houses the U.N. office of WILPF in New York City and owns the Jane Addams House in Philadelphia where the U.S. section of WILPF is located. Organized on April 28th in 1915, WILPF is celebrating its 91st year. For information, visit www.wilpf.int.ch/

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