Jane Addams: Champion of Democracy

Judith Bloom Fradin, Joint Author, Dennis Brindell Fradin, Author . Clarion $21 (224p) ISBN 978-0-618-50436-7

This remarkable team (Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement ) aptly captures the shaping of Jane Addams's (1860–1935) character. The authors focus on her inspiration for and her own contribution to the settlement house movement with Hull House ("an institution that provides educational and social services for the needy"), as well as her unpopular yet stalwart commitment to peace during WWI. The authors immediately grab readers' attention with a chapter on Jane's comical role as Garbage Inspector of Chicago's Nineteenth Ward (where Hull House was situated). Only 5'3", Jane commanded "the brawny garbage collectors," and the cleanup contributed to lowering the ward's death rate. Jane extended her hospitality to even the "stone throwers" surrounding Hull House, and made a smooth transition to pacifist. The press sanctified and berated Jane in equal measure, calling her "Saint Jane" and eventually even "the most dangerous woman in America." The book explores some of her complexities, including her habit of collecting interesting people and also speculation about whether she and her close friend Mary Rozet Smith might also have been lovers. Jane may have lived a century ago, but her universal childhood anxieties (a sense of herself as an "ugly duckling" and her very modern complex family tree) as well as her struggle with depression make her a very human and inspiring role model for today's readers. Ages 10-14. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 11/06/2006
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Children's
Discover what to read next