#WomenReadWomen2019 Award-Winning Books Early Readers Features Genre Lifespan of a Reader Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes Sisterhood and Female Bonds

[Nonfiction Wednesday] Jane Addams: A Woman Who Was Sister To All

"The House That Jane Built: A Story About Jane Addams" by Tanya Lee Stone and Kathryn Brown.

Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2019 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.

While technically not about sisterhood, I feel that Jane Addams’ spirit was one that made her appear like a benevolent “sister” to those who need her the most, and who probably did not expect to receive such an outpouring of kindness from this woman of privileged means who made it her life’s mission to be of service to the community.


The House That Jane Built: A Story About Jane Addams

Written by Tanya Lee Stone Illustrations by Kathryn Brown
Published by Henry Holt & Co. (2015).
ISBN: 0805090495 (ISBN13: 9780805090499) Literary Awards: NCTE Orbis Pictus Award Nominee (2016), Bluestem Book Award Nominee (2018)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

I am not unfamiliar with Jane Addams’ life, as I have featured another picturebook biography of her just a few months back (see my review here):

and Fats has also done a review of this version by Tanya Lee Stone and Kathryn Brown when it first came out. However, I do feel that it is worth sharing the story of this amazing woman’s life yet again.

There was a pivotal point in Jane Addams’ life that strengthened her commitment to lead a life of service. This happened when she was a young girl: the sight of so many hungry people suffering the indignity of asking for alms from people.

Instead of feeling revulsion or being paralyzed by guilt or afflicted with a self-righteous condescension, she was determined to chart a life path that would allow her to do something about what she feels to be a problem requiring a solution.

Her vision seemed relatively simple and perfectly doable, end eventually became far-reaching: living amidst the poorest of the poor, opening her home to the hungry, and providing education to the young.

What struck me the most when I read this story was how Jane Addams actualized her vision, with a selfless air that did not ask for anything in return – no adulation, no self-entitled expectations, with very little regard even for her own safety – just the wish for more hands to help her to provide service to the many disenfranchised individuals who wanted to restore dignity into their lives.

I am bowled over by how remarkable this woman was. We need more women, more sisters around the world, like Jane Addams.


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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

1 comment on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Jane Addams: A Woman Who Was Sister To All

  1. lindabaie

    It is a wonderful book, I agree, Myra. This is one person that was in my history books long ago, but now I hope that more children continue to learn about her!

    Liked by 1 person

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