Reviewing the Year

Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

The Cardboard KingdomAs 2019 comes to an end, taking a second look at the books members of the WoW community recommended over the past year is a good way to see where we’ve been, and perhaps take a look at where we are going. WoW Recommends is a monthly book recommendation a member of the WoW community believes others should not only know about, but READ! Typically, the recommended books are published within the last two years, and are considered a must for global readers. Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month
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MTYT: I Just Ate My Friend

Jean Schroeder, The IDEA School, Tucson, AZ and Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

HOLLY: We end our discussion this month on a lighter note with the picturebook, I Just Ate My Friend (2017) by Heidi McKinnon. Turning our theme, “connections across differences creates community,” on its head, this charming picturebook is about looking for a sense of belonging but such connection involves a huge risk. Noting that not only has the character eaten his friend, he admits that his friend was a good friend, but now is gone. The play on words just made me laugh! In search of another friend, he is dissuaded from becoming friendly with others who offer a variety of reasons for why they cannot be friends. Finally, he meets someone who says they will be his friend, ultimately in a way similar to how he was a friend. I mean, really, one can expect no less! I found myself thinking, “Yep, cannot eat your cake and have it, too!” What did you think of this, Jean?

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IBBY Mexico: 40 Years of Forming Readers and Promoting Excellence in Children´s and YA Lit in Spanish

By Andrea García, Ph.D. Literacy Consultant, Pädi, Queretaro, Mexico

IBBY Mexico LogoThe International Board for Books for Young People (IBBY) is a well–established international presence for promoting reading and helping bring high quality children’s and young adult literature to readers across the world. Today, I want to focus on IBBY Mexico, and specifically to highlight their yearly guide to the best children’s and young adult literature available in Spanish. This is a resource that I know will become a favorite one for teachers, educators, and researchers around the world wanting to keep up with the latest trends and happenings in the publishing world in Spanish. Continue reading

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MTYT: Lubna and Pebble

Jean Schroeder, The IDEA School, Tucson, AZ and Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

HOLLY: So, after Angel Thieves and The Season of Styx Malone, I can’t help but think about other relationships that might be considered strange on the surface, but on second glance create connection and hope. Another such narrative is the picturebook, Lubna and Pebble (2019) by Wendy Meddour and illustrated by Daniel Egnéus. Lubna, a young refugee, has a friendship with a pebble. She talks to it, carries it with her and finds comfort in its presence. There are profound concepts in this book that include a sense of human connection to the earth as well as the concept of the solidity of a rock, or in this case a pebble, which is appropriate for so young a child. The earth gives us our footing. We are, after all, earthlings! Lubna finds Pebble when she and her father arrive on the beach of a new country. I think of Syrian refugees crossing from Turkey to Greece and finding themselves in “a World of Tents.” Lubna is lost in thinking about her homeland, the war, and her brothers. Pebble becomes a connection and is Lubna’s best friend. Then one day, Amir, another young refugee, arrives at the camp. Amir and Lubna become friends until the day Lubna leaves because she and her father have found a new place to live. Suddenly, Pebble’s role in Lubna’s life shifts. I cannot help but think of how some relationships are strong but only temporary, yet in that limited time and space, connections and hope still form. What did you think of Lubna and Pebble, Jean?

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The White Ravens: International Recognition of Children’s and Young Adult’s Literature Published in Spanish from Mexico

By Andrea García, Ph.D. Literacy Consultant, Pädi, Queretaro, Mexico

The White Ravens CoverShifts in demographics over the last decades reveal that the U.S. is the second largest Spanish–speaking country after Mexico. Data reported by the Instituto Cervantes in 2019, indicate that the U.S. has over 50 million Spanish speakers, including both native and bilingual speakers. It is no surprise that over the years that librarians, teachers, parents, and readers in general have expressed an interest in locating high quality children’s and young adult’s literature published originally in Spanish to respond to this growing demand from readers. Continue reading

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MTYT: The Season of Styx Malone

Jean Schroeder, The IDEA School, Tucson, AZ and Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

We all know of particular relationships that make others wonder how they work. This month we will explore four books that feature unusual relationships that make us scratch our heads and ask how on earth they work. But somehow they do, and when they do intriguing communities come into being giving us hope. Jean Schroeder and Holly Johnson continue their discussion of these relationships through books that highlight them.

MTYT The Seasons of Styx Malone Continue reading

Fundación Cuatrogatos: Promoting Children’s and YA Literature in Spanish in the United States

By Andrea García, Ph.D. Literacy Consultant, Pädi, Queretaro, Mexico

Fundacion CuatrogatosFor the last couple of years, I have been working as a teacher, educator and a literacy consultant in both Mexico and the United States. Through my work and conversations with teachers, educators, and parents in both countries, I know that there is still a great need to diversify the choices we offer our younger readers, particularly stories with authentic and contemporary representations of traditionally marginalized identities across ethnicity, race, gender, ability, and so on. Continue reading

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MTYT: Angel Thieves

Jean Schroeder, The IDEA School, Tucson, AZ and Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

MTYT November 2019

We all know of particular relationships that make others wonder how they work. The republican married to the democrat or the cat whose two best friends are ducks. This month we will explore four books that feature unusual relationships that make us scratch our heads and ask how on earth they work. But somehow they do, and when they do intriguing communities come into being giving us hope. Jean Schroeder and Holly Johnson discuss these relationships through books that highlight them.

MTYT Angel Thieves Continue reading