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MTYT: Luna

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, Leanna Lucero and Tabitha P. Collins

Liam has never felt okay in his own skin because deep down, he knows that he is a girl playing a boy during his waking hours. At night, though, Luna emerges. Safe in the confines of her sister Regan’s bedroom, she transforms into the girl that she is inside. As Luna becomes more comfortable with her chosen identity, she can’t hide from the world anymore. Luna feels she must emerge from her cocoon and present as Luna to the world. But will Regan and the rest of Luna’s friends and family be able to accept Luna for who she is? And can Regan ever stop resenting the choices that Luna has made and how those choices affect her? Peters’ novel shows the struggles of a transgender teen trying to come to terms with her identity as well as shows readers how Luna’s struggles (and the struggles of others like her) can impact the lives of close friends and family members.

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MTYT: I am J

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, Leanna Lucero and Tabitha P. Collins

This month we discuss adolescent literature that features coming out stories of transgender and gender fluid adolescents. Mary and Leanna happened upon this genre when they brainstormed ways to interpret a Crossing Borders theme in their undergraduate teacher-education classes. Tabitha, a doctoral candidate, focuses on children’s and adolescent literature that features LGBTQ+ characters as part of their research agenda. What follows in each discussion is a synopsis of the novel and excerpts from our conversations about multiple topics including believability (Tunnel & Jacobs, 2004), stereotypes, story patterns (Stott, 1978), supports in place for LGBTQ youth (particularly at school), and the authors’ calls to action.

I Am J by Cris Beam, global perspectives

January’s My Take/Your Take begins with a discussion of I am J by Cris Beam. Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Animals by the Numbers

Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Animal Infographics by Steve Jenkins
Book of the Month, January 2017
Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Animal Infographics by Steve Jenkins

The author/illustrator illuminates fascinating zoological information with infographics that compare and contrast scientific research. For example, one infographic shows that the biomass of all insects on the planet is more than the biomass of any other category of creatures. This book melds, art, science and math to demonstrate how to integrate the curriculum. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter
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Immigrant and Refugee Narratives from 2016

By Lauren Freedman

This week, I will be sharing four new books from 2016. These four books speak to the most current issues facing us if we want to continue to be a welcoming nation in 2017 and beyond: refugee safety, immigration, undocumented Americans. The first two books are picture books that tell refugee stories. One provides a general sense of the refugee experience, the other is about a specific refugee family from Syria. The third book, also a picture book, is a compilation of United States’ immigrant stories told in sparse, lyrical text accompanied by many moving photographs of individuals and families from many different countries around the world. The fourth book is an academic text for adults that shares and discusses the experiences of undocumented teens living in America.

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Picture Books, Chapter Books Showcasing Immigrants and Refugees

By Lauren Freedman

This week, I am sharing works of fiction, nine picture books with illustrations that deepen the reader’s empathy and understanding and four chapter books, all written in free verse. The free verse, I think, captures the shifting emotions and swift changes in locations and circumstances the characters are experiencing and helps the reader feel part of the story. Though fiction, all these stories are based on the real and often current experiences of refugees and immigrants from many parts of the world. For most of the books shared this week there are extension resources available on the internet.

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The Importance of Sharing Immigrant and Refugee Stories

By Lauren Freedman

December’s WOW Currents will focus on sharing immigrant and refugee stories of those children and their families who have been forced to leave the comfort of their homelands. Immigrants and refugees leave their known lives due to war, famine and genocide, among other hardships and disasters. The topic of immigration and refugees is of specific relevance in the current political climate throughout the United States. Sharing immigrant and refugee stories is particularly important in our schools, where bullying of students who are deemed to be “different” due to language, religion and skin color has increased.

sharing immigrant and refugee stories

Illustrations of characters from Playing War by Kathy Beckwith, illustrated by Lea Lyon.


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MTYT: December 2016

Examining Morally Complicated Young Adult Literature
By T. Gail Pritchard and Deborah Dimmett

morally complicated young adult literatureThe Bombs That Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan

GAIL: This time last year, the young adult literature (YAL) world was all abuzz about an unfortunate choice of words by a debut author. Perhaps it was naivety on his part, perhaps it was the way his words were edited in an oft quoted article, perhaps it was a combination — but the result was the same, the YAL community did not like his description of past and current YA as lacking moral complexity. They posted, they blogged, they tweeted; and as a result, lists of morally complicated YAL appeared and sessions at conferences (e.g. YALC 2016, NCTE 2016) were well-attended. Through the discussion of some of the novels appearing on these lists and in conference sessions, we will explore definitions of morally complex YAL, the complicated journeys that occur, the likability of the characters, and the tough questions these novels force us to ask. Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Luis Paints the World

Luis Paints the World by Terry Farish
Book of the Month, December 2016
Luis Paints the World by Terry Farish with illustrations by Oliver Dominguez

Nico, Luis’ older brother is off to join the army and see the world. While Nico is gone, Luis decides to paint the world on an alleyway wall in their Latino neighborhood and is joined by his family and neighbors to create a colorful mural. Spanish words and descriptions of Dominican foods are sprinkled throughout the text contributing to the warm sense of community. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter
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