The Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards are in their 67th year. The award ” 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 people.” The award is given to books in two categories: Younger Children and Older Children. There are also two honor books this year for each age group. Here are the winners and honor books:
YOUNGER CHILDREN WINNER
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López
OLDER CHILDREN WINNER
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
YOUNGER CHILDREN HONOR BOOKS
The Day the War Came by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Rebecca Cobb
Julian Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
OLDER CHILDREN HONOR BOOKS
The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson
The Things She’s Seen by Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina (9781984848789)
Beth died in a car accident and now her father is the only one who can see and hear her. He is struggling with his grief, and Beth knows that the best thing for him is to get back to work as a police detective and solve a mystery. Luckily, he is sent on what should be a simple case in a small Australian town. A dead body was found in the aftermath of a fire at a foster care home. But the mystery isn’t that simple as a witness comes forward and speaks to Beth and her father. The witness, Catching, tells an unbelievable tale of almost dying in a flood, her mother sacrificing herself, and then being taken by unusual beings to be fed upon. Still, Beth and her father realize that Catching is telling the truth if they can just figure out what that is and how it ties into the mystery itself.
This #ownvoices tale shares the dark truth of residential schools for Aboriginal children in Australia and the aftermath of entire lost generations. The authors create an amazing story by mixing modern police procedural with a ghost story that vividly shows Aboriginal storytelling and beliefs. The resulting book is one unlike anything you have read before.
From Catching’s poetic and disturbing tale of losing her colors and then finding a way back using the women in her family as points of strength to Beth’s own process of helping her father and then finding a way to let go to Crow’s story of truth and revenge, this is a book that celebrates the power of Aboriginal women to find their voices on the way to getting justice. The three Aboriginal young women at the heart of the book are studies in various kinds of strength, shining on the page and not allowing their light or colors to dim.
Unusual and incredibly powerful and moving, this genre-bending novel is one of a kind. Appropriate for ages 14-18.
Reviewed from copy provided by Knopf Books for Young Readers.