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Jane Addams: Champion of Democracy Hardcover – December 11, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 6 Up–The introduction asserts, Today most people either don't know who Jane Addams was, or they have only a vague idea, but the number of books published about her, especially juvenile titles, suggests that she is not such an obscure figure. What distinguishes this one is the broader context that the Fradins establish, placing Hull House and the activism of Addams and her friends within the sphere of the history they so clearly influenced. The past is consistently linked to the present by quantifying prices in today's values, explaining what life was like for the poor before government programs were available to help them, and detailing the specifics of life and politics in Chicago and the world in Addams's time. The scene is carefully set for her amazing role as a social reformer and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Opening with her garbage crusade against unsanitary conditions and entrenched politicians in Chicago, then jumping back to her life as a child in Cedarville, IL, and continuing in a linear format, anecdotal information carries the story. Thoughtful placement of quotes from her own testimony and descriptions of her personal quirks humanize her. Primary documents, mainly in the form of archival photos and direct quotes from letters, break up the text. Notes reveal that the authors conducted interviews and did extensive research to authenticate the stories–the detail of these notes will assist researchers seeking to pursue their sources.–Janet S. Thompson, Chicago Public Library
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From Booklist

A fascinating and rich life is related in strong, unfussy prose by the Fradins. Known as Jennie as a child, the peace activist, founder of Hull House, and Nobel Prize winner felt like an ugly duckling. But college, Europe, and the discovery of good work that she could do in the city of Chicago transformed her. The settlement house she founded in 1889 provided a place for the poor to learn, to socialize, to share. She mobilized both workers and volunteers, wrote, spoke, studied, and raised funds. Most of the photographs are portraits; the text is enlivened when the images are those taken at Hull House or at marches. The narrative is smoothly written, and the opening anecdote, which describes how she became a garbage inspector of the Nineteenth Ward of Chicago in order to get the garbage picked up, is telling and draws readers into the story. Addams' bouts of depression and her deeply unpopular opposition to World War I are noted but do not unbalance the narrative. What shines is her everyday heroism, which changed lives. Excellent. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 1190L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books (December 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618504362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618504367
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 8.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #987,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By N. S. VINE VOICE on December 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"Visitors often saw just one side of Chicago -- the lovely lakefront, the fabulous mansions of the wealthy merchants, the majestic skyscrapers, and the glittering night spots.
"There were entire neighborhoods where the residents lived packed together in filthy tenements and shacks. Many poor Chicagoans had no heat in the wintertime, no running water, and no neighborhood schools. Because the opportunity to bathe was rare for the poor, dirt sometimes accumulated on children until their skin resembled scales. In addition, the milk delivered to poor families was often spoiled.
"These unsanitary conditions claimed a large toll, particularly among the very young. In the city as a whole, half the children born in 1889 wouldn't live to celebrate their fifth birthdays. The death toll was even higher in poor neighborhoods, where families might have ten children in the hope that three or four would reach adulthood. Adults also suffered from outbreaks of disease, which included smallpox, cholera, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and dysentery. In 1885, for example, epidemics killed approximately one hundred thousand Chicagoans, or about one in every eight of the city's population."

Into this world of squalor and disease stepped the young woman who was determined to change things.

I like to think that I am doing my little bit to make the world a better place. I am always advocating loudly for peace and acceptance and equality, doing a lot of education-related volunteer work, drying my clothes in the sun, taking mass transit when practical, recycling and composting and planting trees.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vannie on April 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughter was doing a report on a famous American woman and randomly chose Jane Addams. I myself knew nothing of her, so this book was a real eye-opener. I found this woman to be truly amazing and inspiring--the United States could surely use someone like her now!
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