|The House that Jane Built, by Tanya Lee Stone and Kathryn Brown|
A Story about Jane Addams
Written by Tanya Lee Stone
Illustrated by Kathryn Brown
Christy Ottaviano Books, 2015
Grades 2-8, 48 pp., 910L
Biography, Helping Others
"In 1889, a wealthy young woman named Jane Addams moved into a lovely, elegant house in Chicago, Illinois. But instead of moving into a lovely, elegant neighborhood, she picked a house that was smack in the middle of one of the filthiest, poorest parts of town.
"Why would a wealthy young woman do this when she could have lived anywhere?"
At six years old, Jane Addams decided she would fix the world when she grew up. Privileged and well read, Jane nevertheless grew up acutely aware of the needs of those around her. Perhaps she learned this from her father, whose library was so grand, it served as the town library as well. As an adult, Jane traveled to Toynbee Hall in London, the first settlement house. It was a place where people of all classes lived, worked, learned, and mingled. Toynbee became the model for Addams's own Hull House in Chicago. The book follows Jane from early events which shaped her thinking, through many of her civic projects and to the memorial of her death. The author's note goes into great detail about incidents left out of the main text. There is a short list of sources for further reading.
What I Love:
Though the FBI called her the most dangerous woman in America for her ideas and her determination to create change, she was the first woman to win the Nobel Peace prize, awarded in 1931. Jane worked for better conditions for people of all skin colors and especially for the poor. Most of the people with whom she worked were immigrants who had little social standing, few possessions, and often a poor grasp on the language. She stood in the gap and gave them a voice, anticipating and communicating their needs.
History was nothing like this when I was a kid. I clearly remember the unit on reformation, was it fifth grade? It was so boring, I couldn't keep the names straight. The causes like poverty, temperance, educational reform, and suffrage were so far removed from our little classroom; there was no attempt made to connect with us or to ground the events in time or place. This book was interesting and well organized. The author managed to distill the huge amount of information about the life and accomplishments of Jane Addams into just 32 pages. She put the facts into cotext and completely within the reach of the readership. The illustrations are watercolor perfection, organic and peaceful just like the peace Jane Addams worked for herself.
I love the lyrics which appear on the title page, sung at the dedication of the Women's Club on Polk Street in1905:
A House stands on a busy street
Its doors are opened wide,
To all who come it bids good cheer,
To some it says, Abide.
1. Visit the Jane Addams Hull House Museum in Chicago. And find fascinating information on the National Women's History Museum site. The Jane Addams Papers Project has posted a chronology of her life.
|Toynbee Hall on which Hull House was based.|
3. Here's the history of The Settlement, in Philadelphia, with links to modern community facilities. Look for a settlement house program in your area. Volunteer. Donate. Promote. Contact a local Boys and Girls Club or United Neighborhood Centers to see how you can help. One of my favorites in this region is Friendship House.
4. Addams gave sacrificially for the welfare of the poor. Americans Helping Americans is organization you can become involved with which brings relief to those struggling through a rough time in their lives.
5. Addams worked tirelessly for immigrants in her neighborhood. Only 8% of the estimated 8 million illegal immigrants attempt to become citizens of the United States annually. Immigration makes our melting pot strong and marvelous. Instead of throwing our money at the political machine, let's get out in our communities and rebuild the nation one person at a time.
- Consider sponsoring a candidate: fees can run $400-600.
- My mother-in-law taught in a local program for years, one which helped immigrants learn English, apply for jobs, and walked them through the steps to citizenship. She made friends from all backgrounds.
- Our local church is smack in the middle of an Irish-Polish-Italian-Hispanic-Latino-Indian-Russian community, besides the three colleges within walking distance which attract students from the four corners of the world. We are constantly learning new ways to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Here are some resources to get you started:
- esl opportunities,
- citizenship resource centers,
- nonprofits and grants for citizenship,
- clinics and services like Citizenship Now! in NY, Erie Neighborhood House in IL, and SDCC's retirees helping immigrants program in CA
- CASA programs all across the nation.
- Religious organizations for refugees with links to programs like RISE and World Relief.
6. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.
|Another book by Tanya Lee Stone|
Reviewed by Kirsten
|Another book by Kathryn Brown|
Reviewed by Joanne
|Reviewed by Vivian|
|Reviewed by Barbara|
Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!