WOW Currents

An Interview with Mary Margaret Mercado: Publication Practices

By Judi Moreillon, Literacies and Libraries Consultant

Part 2: Publication Practices

This month, I interview Pima County Public Libraries children’s librarian and book reviewer, Mary Margaret Mercado. Last week, Mary Margaret responded to questions related to her goals and process for reviewing books. This week, we explore publication practices. To guide our thinking, we create a framework from Critical Multicultural Analysis of Children’s Literature: Mirrors, Windows, and Doors by Maria José Botelho and Masha Kabakow Rudman and WOWLit’s “Evaluating Literature for Authenticity.”
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WOW Currents

Book Reviewers as Mediators of Children’s Literature: An Interview with Mary Margaret Mercado

By Judi Moreillon, Literacies and Libraries Consultant

Part 1: Goals and Process for Children’s Book Reviews

Children’s book reviewers serve as mediators between newly published children’s literature and those who promote, purchase or use these books. Newspapers and other media that promote children’s books use what book reviewers publish. Bookstores that sell children’s books refer to these reviews. School and public librarians, classroom teachers and families that purchase and share children’s books often rely on published reviews. Book reviewers, therefore, have the responsibility to be competent. Their reviews should accurately address all aspects of global children’s literature, including cultural authenticity and accuracy.
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WOW Currents
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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WOW Currents

The Continued Relevance of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

By Angel Stone, The University of Arizona

“It is easier not to say anything,” thinks Melinda Sordino, a high school freshman in the book Speak who feels she cannot share her story of rape. In Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel, which will soon release as a graphic novel illustrated by Emily Carroll, Melinda shows us the dangers of hiding our most difficult experiences and the importance of speaking about them openly. Melina is fictional, but the fear she faces is real and can have lasting effects. We hear her story in every corner of our world from high school to entertainment to politics. Each one of us at some point face challenges that we don’t know how to share.

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WOW Currents

TFOB YA Authors Empower Teens to Speak Out

By Angel Stone, Worlds of Words Intern, The University of Arizona

Politicians admit to using their status to take advantage of women. Movie directors and actors use their power to assault young people. Mental health concerns are at an all-time high for children and teens. The novels we look at this month, written by authors attending the 2018 Tucson Festival of Books, address the issues of assault, unfounded judgment and mental illness. These TFOB YA authors provide a way to initiate conversations on difficult topics between young people and those who care about them.

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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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WOW Currents

In My Opinion: Sixth-Graders Share Manga Experiences

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

This week, we share three sixth-graders’ thoughts on manga and their manga experiences. Many teenagers love reading and illustrating manga, yet there has not been a clear discussion about young readers’ criteria that asks how they recognize excellence in Japanese manga. Since manga is popular among young readers, we wonder how they choose a quality manga that is aesthetically attractive to them. We interpret manga as a product of childhood cultures, so we explore our three manga fans’ thoughts on the quality of manga and compare it to similar sequential art texts like graphic novels.

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Fun Reading but Serious Talking: Manga History and Social Practice

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

Manga translates literally to “whimsical pictures” and are Japanese comic books (Bonser, 2017, p. 201). Manga was originally published in Japan and then republished in other countries, including the U.S. A dive into manga history shows that it is rooted in Japan’s long tradition of sequential arts, dating back to the Middle Ages when Bishop Tuba, a Buddhist priest, drew caricatures of his fellow priests (Schodt, 1996), which is considered a forerunner of manga. Katsushika Hokusai, a ukiyo-e (floating world picture) woodblock printmaker, coined the word “manga” and Hokusai Manga, containing assorted drawings from Hokusai’s sketchbooks, was published in the early 19th century (see Figure 1). Later on, “manga” was used in reference to a storytelling-style of book by Rakuten Kitazawa, a manga artist known as the founding father of modern manga (see Figure 2).

Figure 1. Hokusai Manga, First and Second Series (Ota Memorial Museum of Art, 2013)

Figure 1. Hokusai Manga, First and Second Series (Ota Memorial Museum of Art, 2013)


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