Jane Addams Children's Book Awards

Jane Addams Peace Association

About the award:

The Jane Addams Children's Book Award is given annually to children's books that promote peace, social justice, gender and racial equality, and world community. The first award was given in 1953. What I love about this award is most of the books are very culturally diverse, and many of them are based on the lives of actual people. This is great because students are learning about actual events and historical figures that are lesser known but did great things.
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(1860-1935)

  • First American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (1931)
  • A social worker
  • Founded the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (1919)
  • Hull House in Chicago (helped immigrants)
  • Helped eliminate children industrial workers

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel

61st recipient of the Jane Addams Children's Book Award (2014).
Michelle Mackel at 2014 Jane Addams Book Awards

Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan by Jeanette Winter

This is the 57th book to be chosen to receive the award (2010).
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This story is about a little girl named Nasreen who lives in Herat, Afghanistan. The Taliban soldiers arrest her father without an explanation and her mother goes to try to find him. Nasreen now lives with her grandmother and Nasreen stops speaking. Her grandmother starts sending her to a secret school for girls who aren't allowed to get an education. There she discovers her love for learning and reading, and makes friends. She finally speaks again when she makes friends at school.


This book is also based on a true story. It would be a great read aloud for K-2. This book can teach children about different countries and how some children aren't allowed to come to school like they are. It helps children to see how important learning is and ties in a lot of great cultural knowledge.

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

This book received the 60th Jane Addams award (2013).
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A new student named Maya comes to school. Her clothes are faded and tattered and the other students are mean to her. The story is from one student, Chloe's perspective. She is also mean to Maya to fit in with the other students. Maya's family moves away so Maya changes schools. Chloe's teacher has a lesson on kindness where the students drop a stone in water and watch how the ripples form. "Each little thing we do goes out like a ripple into the world." Chloe begins to realize she didn't show Maya any kindness and is sad, but realizes that every little kindness is important no matter how small.


This is an important read aloud for K-3. It discusses themes of bullying and how you should be kind to everyone. It could be partnered with something where you have secret buddies that are drawn and you have to show this classmate little kindnesses. This book introduces a lot of very important topics for children.

Delivering Justice: W.W. Law and the Fight for Civil Rights by Jim Haskins

53rd award recipient, received in 2006.

Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire Nivola

This book won the 56th Jane Addams Children's Book Award in 2009.