Tuesday, November 3, 2015
The House That Jane Built
Jane seems like my kind of gal. I'm going to be honest here. About my ignorance. I thought Jane Addams was related, in some way, to Abigail and John Adams. She is not. Their last names aren't spelled the same. And THIS is what I love about reading a LOT of nonfiction for the CYBILS and #NFNovember. All the learning I get to do about interesting people and animals and events WHILE reading books that might be awesome for my school library. Best. Job. Ever. But I digress, while this book is catalogued 92 (biography) according to the library from which I borrowed it, I see it to be more a story of the HOUSE and her work than about Jane herself. It seems that the popular nominees for the elementary/nonfiction category are picture book biographies, but I'm not sure I would consider this a biography. For starters, it really only scratches the surface of Jane Addams. It has, for me, opened a door into a room I would like to explore more so I look forward to doing so. I admire the work Jane Addams did in establishing and building the community surrounding Hull House and her altruistic actions which shaped a community with a goal to help those who had less. Jane seems like someone who looked for the root of the problem and worked to solve problems in her efforts. When a boy threw rocks at the window, she identified he needed something more to do with his time...and gave him that. When a man stole from her, she asked him why. And gave him a job. The illustrations by Kathryn Brown bring a color to a time most of us have only ever seen in black and white. The bright colors emphasize the hope that Hull House brought to so many. Tanya Lee Stone artfully weaves a story explaining the poverty Jane saw both as a child and then abroad in London as an adult which likely inspired her work building Hull House and reaching out to the community of Chicago. Included are an author's note with more background information as well as sources and source notes.
The House That Jane Built: A Story About Jane Addams
Author: Tanya Lee Stone
Illustrator: Kathryn Brown
Published 2015 by Henry Holt and Co.
I borrowed this book from the public library to read and review.