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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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WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Ada’s Violin

Ada's Violin The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
Book of the Month, April 2017
Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Comport

Ada lives next to a landfill where people comb the trash looking for items to sell for recycling. There is little hope or stimulation in her life until a teacher offers music lessons. Inspiration flows from this true story of how children in a orchestra with instruments made from the trash becomes a international sensation. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter

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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.

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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.

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More Outstanding International Books from USBBY

By Holly Johnson

This week, I continue sharing international books that readers will enjoy by highlighting several picturebooks. Revisiting USBBY’s 2017 “Outstanding International Books,” I want to point out several works that span experiences and interests that will be sure to touch all readers regardless of age or grade. While I discuss these books in grade level order as noted on the OIB List, I know these books are not only appropriate for all readers, but will delight them as well.

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2017 Outstanding International Books for Everyone!

By Holly Johnson

This month I share international books from across age groups that will be sure to provoke, delight and inspire. This week, I am sharing from the 2017 “Outstanding International Books” from the U.S. Board on Books for Young People (USBBY), a list that came out at the end of January. These books were all published in the U.S. during 2016 and represent countries and cultures from around the world. Some of the books from the list have already been shared on WOW Currents, so while I might mention them, I really want to give you a new set of books to read and enjoy.

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WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Sachiko

Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story by Caren Stelson
Book of the Month, March 2017
Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson

Sachiko, was 6 years old when the bomb was dropped on her city. This book tells how she survived when her four siblings did not. The story is heart rendering and is based on five interviews the author did with Sachiko. Maps, photographs, sidebars about the period give more information. Sachiko is a finalist for the National Book Award. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter
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Supporting Refugees and Immigrants through Imaginative Narratives

By Susan Corapi

The process of adapting to a new country can take (at best) months or (more probably) years. Picture books about the refugee experience can give the false impression that the process of learning a new language and adapting to a new culture is quick because the narrative is compressed into 32 pages. In reality, the process should be represented as a multivolume work!

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MTYT: Piano Starts Here

This post continues February’s My Take/Your Take conversation on books that have won the Schneider Family Award for their portrayal of the disability experience. The conversation started with The Deaf Musicians, A Splash of Red and The Pirate of Kindergarten, and continues this week with Piano Starts Here.

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Supporting Refugees and Immigrants through Narratives with Strong Characters

By Susan Corapi

Christina Igoa, in her book The Inner World of the Immigrant Child (1995), documents her years of teaching in a California classroom designed to support children in their acquisition of English. In order to help that process, she acquired an extensive classroom library and immersed her students in English language texts. She particularly focused on collecting stories that had strong characters who overcame obstacles.

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