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MTYT: The Visitor

By Janelle B. Mathis, PhD, University of North Texas and Katie Loomis, Librarian and Doctoral Student, University of North Texas

In the fourth installment of January’s MTYT, Janelle B. Mathis and Katie Loomis talk about the picturebook The Visitor, written by Antje Damm and translated by Sally-Ann Spencer. The theme for this month focuses on child agency and situations where children can relate to adults through personal relationship, actions, words or questions.

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MTYT: A Story Like the Wind

By Janelle B. Mathis, PhD, University of North Texas and Katie Loomis, Librarian and Doctoral Student, University of North Texas

In the third installment of January’s MTYT, Janelle B. Mathis and Katie Loomis talk about the picturebook A Story Like the Wind, written by Gill Lewis and illustrated by Jo Weaver. The theme for this month focuses on child agency and situations where children can relate to adults through personal relationship, actions, words or questions. This fable tells the story of a young boy who uses his agency to provide hope to fellow refugees through song and story.

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MTYT: A Drop of the Sea

By Janelle B. Mathis, PhD, University of North Texas and Katie Loomis, Librarian and Doctoral Student, University of North Texas

In the second installment of January’s MTYT, Janelle B. Mathis and Katie Loomis talk about the picturebook A Drop of the Sea, written by Ingrid Chabbert and illustrated by Raúl Nieto Guridi. The theme for this month focuses on child agency and situations where children can relate to adults through personal relationship, actions, words or questions.

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MTYT: The Old Man

By Janelle B. Mathis, PhD, University of North Texas and Katie Loomis, Librarian and Doctoral Student, University of North Texas

Contemporary literature has examples of the relationships that children develop with adults—parents, grandparents, and people they meet unexpectedly through shared experiences. The books discussed this month each reveal children relating to adults in very authentic ways— sometimes through a relationship and sometimes through their own impulse to act, speak, or ask questions. In thinking about child agency, the books show how the most natural or simplest of connections can resonate in powerful ways with adults.

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WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: The Cardboard Kingdom

The Cardboard KingdomThe graphic novel The Cardboard Kingdom is a cheerful story capturing children’s imagination and creativity, friendship and exploration of conflicts with families, friends and even their own identity. Chad Sell created this book in coordination with ten other writers, including Jay Fuller, David DeMeo, Katie Schenkel, Kris Moore, Manuel Betancourt, Molly Muldoon, Vid Alliger, Cloud Jacobs, Michael Cole and Barbara Perez Marquez. Continue reading

Authors' Corner

Authors’ Corner: Susan Kuklin

By Lacey Nehls, University of Arizona

Susan KuklinPhotojournalist and award-winning author and photographer Susan Kuklin builds quite the rapport with her audience. As a nonfiction author and photographer of books that feature sociocultural issues, Kuklin breaks waves by using real people and real stories. Her newest book, We Are Here to Stay, follows the tremendous journey of nine inspiring young adults who live in the United States undocumented. We Are Here to Stay was originally set for publication in 2017, but the repeal of DACA made it no longer safe to feature these individuals by images or names. Accordingly their identifying information is withheld. Continue reading

WOW Currents

YA Fantasies for the New Year

By Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati

The last two books to round out 2018 will also take us into 2019 since both are the first books of a series. And the best (or worst, depending on how you think about this) is they are fantastic adventures… that you will need to wait (impatiently if you are like me) for their second titles! Yet, while I call them fantastic, and they are, I really resisted reading both of these books because they are the first two in a series in which their companions are not available. When it comes to story, I am hard-pressed to delay gratification! The two books of which I speak are The Book of Dust (2017) by Philip Pullman and Children of Blood and Bone (2108) by Tomi Adeyemi.

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WOW Currents

Picturebooks that Delight

By Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati

This week I want to focus on four picturebooks that were highlighted in WOW Currents during 2018. All create connections across cultures while delighting us with their stories. Those four books are Mommy’s Khimar (2018) by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow (Illustrated by Ebony Glenn), I Really Want to See You, Grandma (2018) by Taro Gomi, A Big Mooncake for Little Star (2018) by Grace Lin, and Drawn Together (2018) by Minh Lê (Illustrated by Dan Santat). Addressing particular aspects of their cultural backgrounds or heritages, these authors share stories that make us smile as well as educate us on the use of a Muslim khimar, the Moon Festival and Asian mooncakes, the connection of grandparents and grandchildren and how art can bring people together across the expanse of silence. Let’s take a look at each one in turn.

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Fiction that Inspires

By Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati

Last week I talked about the three biographies on the WOW Recommends list and how inspiring they are for young people. This week I want to talk about a few equally inspiring fiction pieces. Those three books are The Stars at Oktober Bend (2018) by Glenda Millard, Speak: The Graphic Novel (2018) by Laurie Halse Anderson, and Escape from Aleppo (2018) by N.H. Senzai. While I suggest these books are inspiring, that does not mean they are without tragedy. In fact, all three chronicle an overwhelming tragedy for each of the protagonists. And it is their battle to overcome despite the tragedy, their hope for their futures and their ultimate victories that are so inspiring. The readers are with these characters as they encounter or struggle through the aftermath of each of their individual horrors. Let’s take a look at each one in turn. They deserve this second look!

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