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MTYT: Duck, Death and the Tulip

Compiled by Janelle Mathis

The last My Take/Your Take for April continues with a focus on picture books. For the students involved, part of a doctoral class on critical content and visual analysis of international literature, many picture books became unique points of discussion. In light of the recent 2017 recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, German author/illustrator Wolf Erlbruch, we read Duck, Death and the Tulip (2011) as well as other books by Erlbruch and some scholarly perspectives.

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Crossing Educational Borders with Children’s Literature

By Janine Schall

When I was in fifth grade, each child in my class had to demonstrate a science project. We chose our own topics and after much consultation with my parents and science fair books I decided to mix baking soda and vinegar in a bottle so that I could pop off the cork and make it fly across the room. The ‘POP’ was very satisfying.

educational borders

I don’t remember what grade I got for the project, but it was probably pretty good; most of my grades were. I knew how to perform at school, and, with a few math-related exceptions, I did well academically. Both of my parents completed post-secondary education and it was always quite clear to me that I would go to college after high school. Our school district started tracking children in middle school and there was never any question that I would be in the college-prep track. I believed I was smart because my parents, teachers, and friends believed I was smart. Continue reading

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MTYT: Samira and the Skeletons

Compiled by Janelle Mathis

This installment of April’s My Take/Your Take focuses on responses to a title that is on the USBBY 2017 “Outstanding International Book” List. Bill Visco, a doctoral student and high school English teacher, and April Walker, a doctoral student and elementary teacher with a focus in Language Arts and Social Studies, share their responses to Samira and the Skeletons (2016) written by Camilla Kuhn and published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. This book was translated from Norwegian by Don Bartlett and humorously shares the story of a child who is obsessed with seeing everyone as walking skeletons after a lesson in school about skeletons.

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Crossing Linguistic and Cultural Borders

By Janine Schall

The majority of my childhood and teen years were spent in a small, rural Midwestern town. It was a great place to grow up; safe, good schools, and nice people. I learned a lot about myself and about the world in that little town and when I left after college, in most ways I had an excellent foundation for my future life.

However, in one particular way that place failed me. In the ’70s and ’80s, almost the entire population in that geographical location was White, English-speaking, some variety of Christian, and middle or working class. I grew up surrounded by people who looked like me, sounded like me, worshipped like me, and shared values with me. Life there did very little to prepare me for living in a diverse and global society.

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MTYT: What’s Your Story?

Compiled by Janelle Mathis

April’s My Take/Your Take continues with two doctoral students, Nichelle Vaughan, a doctoral student and Graduate Assistant in the UNT Curriculum and Instruction Program, and Bill Visco, a doctoral student and high school English teacher, responding to a picture book they find intriguing in their exploration of international literature. What’s Your Story? (2013) written by Rose Giannone, illustrated by Bern Emmerichs, and published by Berbay, is the focus for week two.

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Understanding and Crossing Geographic Borders with Children’s Literature

By Janine Schall

Yesterday I drove sixty miles west to attend a meeting on another campus. As I drove, I thought about the borders I was crossing — boundaries between one school district and the next, streets that marked the difference between one town and another, a county line announced by a road sign and a change in pavement. I also paralleled the U.S./Mexico border; when I arrived at the town where the campus is located one left turn would have sent me to the bridge across the Rio Grande River and into Mexico.

Borders are everywhere! But why? What purpose do they serve? How are they established? Who benefits from them? Who is harmed?

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MTYT: Cry, Heart, but Never Break

MTYT April 17
Compiled by Janelle Mathis

The My Take/Your Take for April is aligned with the upcoming WOW Review issue on picturebooks. The participants here are all part of a doctoral seminar at the University of North Texas focused on Critical Content Analysis of International Children’s and YA Literature, and as a result of this course, they are discovering new picturebooks that call for different perspectives and insights. Several books from varying award and honor lists have caught the attention of these educators and they share their responses here.

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Crossing Borders with Children’s Literature

By Janine Schall

As an unapologetic procrastinator, I began writing this blog post by surfing the internet, checking out various social media and news websites to catch up on the latest gossip and political disasters. Stories and comments about the proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico popped up on every website I visited, which was both depressing and predictable.

U.S. Mexico border wall, crossing borders

Photo of the U.S./Mexico border wall in Hidalgo, Texas.

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Favorite USBBY Outstanding International Books for All Grade Levels

By Holly Johnson

This final week of March, I will highlight a final few books to check out from USBBY’s OIB List. I shared all of the books on this list at the Tucson Festival of Books during the weekend of March 11-12 and really enjoyed talking with others who love books! I also reminded them of what I mentioned a few weeks ago about grade levels: Don’t let the grade levels noted on the OIB List deter you from checking out all of these books! There is something for everyone, and so many would work with young people across grade levels.

2017 OIB list, books for all grade levels Continue reading

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Social Justice in USBBY’s 2017 Outstanding International Books List

By Holly Johnson

This week I continue sharing both novels and picture books from USBBY’s 2017 “Outstanding International Books.” I want to pay particular attention to the issue of social justice in these selections with the hope that readers will re-evaluate some of the current thinking within the U.S. I strongly believe that books provide us with “windows, mirrors and sliding glass doors” (Rudine Sims Bishop, 1990). There are times when what we read can help us determine what we believe and perhaps what actions we take in respect to others as well as our own beliefs.

social justice, Don't Cross the Line by Isabel Minhós Martins Continue reading