Jane Addams Awards are Announced
Winners of the 2005 Jane Addams Children's Book Awards were announced on April 28 by the Jane Addams Peace Association. Organized on that date in 1915, JAPA is the educational arm of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).
Since 1953, the Jane Addams Children's Book Awards annually acknowledge books published in the U.S. during the previous year. Books chosen for the Awards effectively address themes or topics that promote peace, justice, world community, and/or equality of the sexes and all races. The books must also meet conventional standards of literary and artistic excellence.
The winner in the Books for Younger Children category is Sélavi, That is Life: A Haitian Story of Hope, written and illustrated by Youme Landowne, from Cinco Puntos Press. In this arresting story based on real children, a homeless, nameless boy finds companions in the street who together build a community of survival and a radio station that speaks courage to struggling youth. Illustrations, skilled in their directness and power, striking photographs, and an afterword by Edwidge Dandicat complete this view of contemporary Haitian life.
In the category of Books for Older Children, the winner is With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman’s Right to Vote, by Ann Bausum, published by National Geographic Society. Attractively designed, With Courage and Cloth focuses especially on the period of the woman suffrage movement from 1913 to 1920, when the vote was finally won by determined suffragists. Bausum frankly addresses, in text and graphic archival photographs, the controversies, the failures and the triumphs that prove that it was, indeed, a fight. Impeccable documentation completes the book.
Three books have won Honors in the Books for Younger Children category. Two of them tell stories of children’s rifts and their resolutions. A rhythmic, poetic text by Karen English in Hot Day on Abbott Avenue moves the story from a “best-friend-breakup day” to a “forgetting-what-you-were-mad-about day” with sensitivity, humor, and a sense of community, reflected brilliantly in the collage art of Javaka Steptoe. Clarion Books published this testimonial to the soothing influence of Double Dutch and blue ice-pops. Henry and the Kite Dragon, by Bruce Edward Hall, is set in the Chinatown of New York in the 1920s when kites and homing pigeons were roof-top hobbies that, in this tale based on true events, set Chinese children and Italian children on a collision course. With the help of Grandfather Chin, the flying of both kites and pigeons happily resumes and is stunningly depicted in the paintings of William Low in this book published by Philomel Books/Penguin Young Readers Group. In a more serious tone, the third Honor Book details the accomplishment of Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing. With spare text and appealing illustrations by James Rumford (and translation into Cherokee by Anna Sixkiller Huckaby), this tall, lean volume echoes the wishes of Sequoyah who wanted his people “to stand as tall as any people on earth” and helped them do so by resolutely creating a syllabary with which their language could be recorded. The syllabary and a chronology of Sequoyah are included in this outstanding biography published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children.
In the category of Honor Books for Older Children, Canadian author Deborah Ellis has again been recognized for her book, The Heaven Shop, published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside. Set in contemporary Malawi, the story personalizes the devastation of the HIV/AIDS pandemic through the experiences of one child, Binti, a 13-year-old girl with ambition and talent. After the death of their parents, Binti and her two siblings are seized and separated, to be used as servants by relatives. With the help of their impoverished and indomitable grandmother, the children are reunited, older and wiser about the effects of this murderous disease.
Members of the 2005 Jane Addams Children's Book Awards Committee are Donna Barkman, Chair (Ossining, New York), Dionne Delancy (Brooklyn, 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), 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 2005 Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards will be presented on Friday, October 21st 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 firstname.lastname@example.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. and, for a recent (March 2005) article about the awards, see www.ala.org/BookLinks.
In addition to the Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards and its many other educational projects, JAPA houses the U.N. office of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in New York City. JAPA owns the Jane Addams House in Philadelphia where the U.S. section of WILPF is located. For information about WILPF during its 90th year, visit www.wilpf.int.ch/.
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