Those “#$@&%*!” Expletives in Children’s Books

by Deborah Dimmett, University of Arizona

BadWordIt has often been debated just how much children’s literature is intended for an adult audience to the same extent it is for children. We know from our own experiences with picture books that there are some interesting subtleties in the story and the illustrations that hail the adult reader.

A recently released picture book, Little Bird’s Bad Word (2015) by Jacob Grant, is an example of a picture book that is definitely aimed at both children (ages 3-7) and the adults who read with/to them. Read More »

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How Do We Choose Texts?

by Deborah Dimmett, University of Arizona

CUBAAs teachers, one of the tasks delegated to us is selecting texts for students to read. But, in choosing a text, we need to ask ourselves what it is we want the text to do for us. And, how will students be supported when they identify conflicting discourses—particularly those that conflict with the teacher’s original intentions? Read More »

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Providing Books for a School in Haiti

by Deborah Dimmett, University of Arizona

HaitiSchoolHaitian families struggle to send their children to school. Although there is no tuition for attending national schools, parents who earn $1 or less a day still have to find the means to purchase textbooks, supplies, uniforms, and pay the registration fees of $20 to $30 per year if their children are to attend school. Many families make the initial investment in their children’s education through Grade 3. However, the cost of schooling increases after 3rd grade. In fact, it is not unusual for schools to send students home who come without textbooks. Read More »

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Suspending Disbelief

by Deborah Dimmett, University of Arizona

MermaidWhile in Haiti this summer, I found myself entrenched in a debate with a Haitian friend about the existence of mermaids. He wasn’t sure about zombis or lougarous—the previous evening’s discussion after being stranded at an active cemetery—but he was totally convinced about mermaids. Read More »

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Texting . . . An Unexpected Affordance for Inclusion

by Jeanne Henry, Hofstra University & Keriann Boorum, freelance ASL/English interpreter, Hofstra University

DeafWhile a handful of YA authors have written about or at least included Deaf characters, Deaf teens remain underrepresented in YA literature. Unfortunately, the depictions that do exist are not as accurate as teachers might like, which serves neither the Deaf nor hearing communities. If hundreds of YA authors were suddenly inspired to depict Deaf teens, both so that these teens might see themselves in the pages of books and so hearing teens could learn a thing or two about Deaf people, they would encounter an immediate challenge: Read More »

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Games Are Ancient* and So Are the Reasons Teens Play Them

by Jeanne Henry, Hofstra University; Tonia Asare-Smith, Dreamweaver House, & Hofstra University; Tashema Spence, Pathways to Graduation, NYCDOE, & Hofstra University

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo an outsider, the appeal of gaming can be baffling, at best and, at worst, non-gamers, especially of the adult variety, can be quick to judge the character of button-mashing game devotees. But two YA books that go a long way in illustrating the considerable depth and dimension to video game play Read More »

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Two, Four, Six, Eight! Hit “Enter” Now to Participate

by Gina Sipley, Nassau Community College & Hofstra University; & Melinda Smith, Munsey Park Elementary School, Manhasset, NY, & Hofstra University

GlobeEmailThe internet provides teenagers with a platform wherein they have innumerable opportunities to voice their beliefs and locate like minded souls. The advent of new media is linked to an increase in social activism and this is seen most closely in the novels of Cory Doctorow. Doctorow’s Little Brother (2008), For The Win (2010), and In Real Life (2014) his graphic novel with Jen Wang, offer visions of not just socially networked teens, but socially conscious ones who use technology as a tool for combatting oppression. Read More »

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What YA Novels Can Teach Us About Coming of Age Online: The Digital Tongue

by Jeanne Henry, Hofstra University & Gina Sipley, Nassau Community College & Hofstra University

TextingThe best YA authors have a nose for what’s next, and so it was no surprise to me in 2005 when I came across Lauren Myracle’s TTYL— a book told entirely in the teen discourse of the day—AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). In the decade since TTYL made its appearance, other YA authors have begun to depict the lives of teens who move through the digital world and for whom coming of age often happens online. Read More »

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Immigration: Books to Enjoy

by Holly Johnson, The University of Cincinnati


“Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me.”

― Carlos Fuentes

To end this month’s blog on immigration, I thought I would discuss “the best of the rest,” those books I did not highlight in the last few weeks. Read More »

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Immigration: Informative Texts that Satisfy

by Holly Johnson, The University of Cincinnati


When we came to America, though, we didn’t know what the right thing was. Here we lived with no map. We became invisible, the people who swam in between other people’s lives, bussing dishes, delivering groceries. What was wrong?

We didn’t know. The most important thing, Abba said, was not to stick out. Don’t let them see you. But I think it hurt him, to hide so much.

― Marina Budhos, Ask Me No Questions (2007)

What is the immigrant experience like? Are all immigrant stories similar? What motivates a person to immigrate to another country? Read More »

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