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WOW Currents

Carve the Mark Brings Awareness to Anxiety

By Grace Fell, The University of Arizona

From a young age, adults told me in a frustrated tone that I am too quiet. They told me I should speak up. I spoke quietly because I didn’t want to speak at all. I didn’t want to talk or look at anyone who I wasn’t absolutely comfortable with. Every day before school I cried because I dreaded the social environment of a classroom. My mother finally agreed to homeschool me to make me happier and more comfortable. Her friends and relatives judged her. They argued that I am just a little shy, that I should get over it. Though I hadn’t been diagnosed yet, I had crippling social anxiety. The lack of empathy from nearly everyone but my mother is depressing.

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MTYT: Adrift at Sea: A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival

Adrift at Sea: A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch with Tuan Ho and Brian Deines is the unbelievably true story of a refugees escape to America. We continue this month’s My Take Your Take with this story that invites readers to experience what it is to be a refugee. It also invites deeper conversation about refugees in America with more personal reflection.

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MTYT: Books that Support Young Readers’ Understanding of Refugees

Flight is the story of refugees fleeing in the desert. At first, it appears to be the story about Mary and Joseph’s journey before the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s actually a much darker parallel to the original story. It is a picturebook that introduces the idea of refugees to children and highlights the importance of sheltering refugees. Sometimes shelter is not enough; we need to give them a home, too.

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WOW Currents

Expanding Reading Boundaries: Mixing Manga with Culturally Diverse Children’s Books

By Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District and Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico

Graphic novels are entertaining for teachers and students. Lately we see more teachers adopt graphic novels in their classrooms. Manga may not be the same. Manga have a wide range of volume numbers and often have long series. Many teachers may not be able to monitor the entire volume sets in their busy schedule. We wonder what will happen if manga are mixed with other children’s books, specifically culturally diverse books. I, Yoo Kyung, often observe that students don’t always grab multicultural books when they have other choices (even in Albuquerque, “the Land of Enchantment”.) Book covers with different ethnic groups are not always their passion. Mixing manga within a text set may interest students in multicultural books through common themes and topics, not by category of “diverse” books. Intertextuality pursued by themes and topics attract students to read.

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WOW Currents

Sixth-Grade Fans’ Best Manga Choices

By Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District and Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico

We continue with favorite popular manga authors and their work and introduce popular manga titles the sixth-graders selected. Interestingly, four out of five titles are boys’ manga, though the three manga fans are girls. The gender classification practice of manga isn’t necessarily ruling criteria. Perhaps manga producers need “target reader” categories more than young readers. For example, contemporary realistic fiction with a high school setting seems to interest sixth-graders. Japanese high school may differ from sixth-grade classrooms, or the authors might make school exotic yet universally empathetic to sixth-graders. Readers identify with the characters’ concerns and issues, relationships with families and siblings, music and sports, school lives and peer cultures.

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