By Griffin Epstein

At the Olympics, the fastest swimmers win the gold medal. In the world of children’s publishing, the best books that promote peace win the Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards, given each year to books that uphold the legacy of Jane Addams. She was an activist in the early twentieth century who fought for equality in education. Some 2007 winners:

WEEDFLOWER
Written by Cynthia Kadohata
During World War II, the United States government set up internment camps (jails) and put many Japanese American citizens in them. Set in 1941, Weedflower follows the struggles of a 12-year-old Japanese American girl named Sumiko in an internment camp on Mohave Native American land. There she meets and befriends a Mohave boy who teaches her to face her uncertain future with confidence and grace.

FREEDOM WALKERS
Written by Russell Freedman
This nonfiction book is an account of the 1955-56 bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, and is full of personal anecdotes and photographs. This story of African American citizens who “rose up in protest and united to demand their rights—by walking peacefully” shows how powerful a group of people can be if they get together to fight racism and injustice.

COUNTING ON GRACE
Written by Elizabeth Winthrop
Counting on Grace is a book about standing up for your rights and how reading and writing can change the world. It is set in the early 1900s in Quebec, the French-speaking province of Canada, and it follows the story of a girl who is forced to leave her school and her home and go to work in the mills in Vermont. She makes friends with a local teacher and a photographer and together they discover things far beyond the walls of the mill.