Jane Addams Children's Book Awards
The Jane Addams Peace Association (JAPA), 777 UN Plaza, 6th Floor, NY, NY, 10017, 212/682-8830, www.janeaddamspeace.org, announced the winners of the 2007 awards on April 27, 2007.
Books chosen by the JAPA 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. JAPA is the educational arm of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
Books for Younger Children
A Place Where Sunflowers Grow, written by Amy-Lee Tai, illustrated by Felicia Hoshino centers on a preschooler's quiet confusion in the disorienting surroundings of the desert camp where her Japanese-American family is interned during World War II. This bilingual story told in Japanese and English emphasizes the arts, family and friendship as sources of strength in the face of injustice. Mixed-media illustrations rendered in the browns, yellows, and golds of both sunflowers and the desert bolster the story's overriding message: Not easily, but with time, patience and care, hope can be fostered in even the harshest circumstances.
Honorable Mention: Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom, written by Tim Tingle, illustrated by Jeanne Rorex Bridges, is a tribute to the Choctaws and Indians of every nation who aided African-Americans running from slavery. Night Boat to Freedom, written by Margot Theis Raven, pictures by E. B. Lewis, tells the tale of an enslaved African-American boy who repeatedly risks his life to row others across the river to Ohio and freedom.
Books for Older Children
Weedflower, by Cynthia Kadohata, begins in December 1941. From the moment twelve-year-old Sumiko is turned away from a classmate's birthday party because she is Japanese-American, and throughout her family's subsequent internment, she responds to injustices with disbelief, ambivalence, energy and hope. At Poston, an internment camp on the Mohave Indian reservation, her passion for growing flowers sustains her and a surprising friendship with a Mohave boy pushes her to face her own uncertain future with confidence.
Honorable Mention: Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, by Russell Freedman is an account of the 1955-56 Montgomery (AL) bus boycott which brings the grass-roots, nonviolent nature of this movement to the fore. Counting on Grace, by Elizabeth Winthrop, tells the story of a French-Canadian girl who joins her family working in the mills of Vermont in the early 1900s.
The 2007 Awards will be presented October 19 in New York City.