Native American Children’s Books on Indian Residential Schools

By Angeline P. Hoffman, White Mountain Apache

Children today, all children, need to be given the opportunity to understand history, even the parts that illustrate one people’s inhumanity to another people. For this understanding to occur, children need to be able to make a connection between the history being taught and their own lives. Dehumanizing Indian peoples in text and picture, justifying the atrocities committed in the name of “civilization,” presenting Carlisle founder Richard Henry Pratt’s disingenuous propaganda as fact, further adds to the vast body of disinformation being taught about Indian people.

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Refugee and Migrant Narrative in Baddawi by Leila Abdelrazaq

By Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona

BaddawiBaddawi by Leila Abdelrazaq follows Ahmad, a struggling young boy raised in a refugee camp called “Baddawi” in North Lebanon. He tries to find himself and his identity while growing up in a place he cannot call home. His story represents one of the many thousands of refugee children born in Palestine who fled or were forced to leave their homeland after the war in 1948 and the establishment of the state of Israel.
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Refugee and Migrant Narrative in Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

By Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona

children separated by placeEcho by Pam Muñoz Ryan is a poignant story about the journey of a magical mouth harp (harmonica) through time and space. The masterful enmeshing of timeless fairytale and historical reality binds this powerful text into a strong narrative that highlights world events, prejudice, and social class distinctions. It all begins with Otto, who gets lost in a jungle where three sisters, bound by a witch’s curse, find him. Otto promises to break the curse by taking the harmonica out to the world. The harmonica, through its magical music, tangibly joins three children separated by place, which lifts the curse, freeing the three sisters. Continue reading

Refugee and Migrant Narrative In No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis

By Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona

No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis, undocumented immigrant childrenThe well-executed plot of No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis follows the journey to freedom of three undocumented immigrant children. While the children struggle to reach the shores of England, a British orphan, released from the bonds of an oppressive uncle, joins them. These children, Abdul from Baghdad, Cheslav from Russia, Jonah from England, and the only female, Rosalia, a Romani, develop throughout the story. Ellis depicts a rich cultural background of the countries with distinct circumstances for each character. This story begins in France and culminates in England, providing a fine description of the traumatic lives many immigrants lead in France.
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Recent Refugee and Migrant Narratives in Picture Books and YA Novels

By Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona

World populations relocated to varied geographical areas throughout history and time. Such movement contributed to the United States of America and its place of power in the world. The recent significant global impact of large bodies of refugee populations relocating and of forced movements of Mexicans and Muslims to the U.S., Europe and other Western nations present themselves at the forefront of national and international news and politics. One cannot turn on the TV or visit an internet or social media site and not find a reference to these emigrating populations.

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STORY in Storying Studio

By Prisca Martens, Ph.D., Towson University

STORY in Storying Studio stands as a verb as well as a noun. In addition to being a narrative, story/storying as verbs mean to compose by weaving together meanings in writing and art as in picturebooks. Children don’t write and illustrate; rather, they story. Story as a verb refers to the multimodal process of composing meaning in writing and art.

story in storying studio, Marcie
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READ in Storying Studio

By Prisca Martens, Ph.D., Towson University

When children read in Storying Studio, they learn that readers not only read written text, they read art. They consider how/why artists make particular decisions about color, shape, etc., similar to how/why authors make particular decisions about word choice, sentence structure, etc., when writing written text. We create text sets around particular themes, topics, or art concepts on which the teachers want to focus in the minilessons.

read in storying studio
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Storying Studio: Drawing Stories, Writing Pictures

By Prisca Martens, PhD, Towson University

storying studioPicturebooks convey stories in both written text and pictorial text (art), with both texts being essential to telling the story (Kiefer, 1995; Sipe, 1998). The art has meanings or perspectives not offered in the written text just as the written text has meanings/perspectives not available in the art. When no written text is present, the story is told only through the art. Typically these books are referred to as wordless books. My co-researcher Ray Martens, an artist and art educator, however, calls them pictorial books to emphasize the importance of the art in telling the story rather than identify these books as lacking words. Continue reading

When Wishes Go Awry

By T. Gail Pritchard, Ph.D., University of Arizona

What do you wish for — Love? Health? Happiness? Friendship? Sometimes the wishes are for yourself, your family, a specific person, or even the world. This week’s blog takes a look at wishes made and how those wishes go awry, from wanting a friend to make the basketball team to wanting to be liked. In each case, when the wishes go awry, the wisher is left wondering how to undo those wishes. In the process, we learn about each of the wishers — who they are, aspects of their character, and what they most value. Are they foolish? Are they greedy? Or do they just want to help better themselves and their family?

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