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Poet Laureate Projects from the Library of Congress

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

This week WOW Currents makes a slight change from featuring resources available from independent publishers to featuring Poet Laureate Projects sponsored by the Library of Congress. Teachers and families can access poetry projects and interactive ideas from eight Poet Laureates including Tracy K. Smith, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Joy Harjo, the current Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. Continue reading

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Literacy Resources Available through Cinco Puntos Press

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

This week WOW Currents features teacher and family literacy resources available through Cinco Puntos Press, an independent publishing company located in El Paso, Texas. Bobby and Lee Byrd, owners and publishers, opened Cinco Puntos in 1985 and have been publishing “great books which make a difference in the way you see the world” ever since. Continue reading

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Enchanted Lion Books

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces NM

This month WOW Currents features literacy resources that educators and families can bring into their virtual learning spaces. This week WOW Currents focus on The ELB Book Club, and Instagram resources available from Enchanted Lion Books. In a recent interview with Claudia Zoe Bedrick, the publisher, editor and art director of Enchanted Lion Books, I asked her to talk about the resources available to educators and families. Continue reading

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Imagination Fridays

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

Each week in November, WOW Currents will feature an online resource that teachers and families can access to support literacy instruction in their virtual learning spaces. This week’s post features Imagination Friday hosted by Worlds of Words: Center of Global Literacies and Literatures and Tucson Festival of Books. WOW offers many amazing resources for teachers and families, and Imagination Friday is no exception. Continue reading

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Creating Literature-Based Digital Classroom

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

In our school district (Tucson Unified School District (TUSD)), in this unusual time, “Bitmoji Classroom” is one of the hottest educational tools among teachers, especially Grades K-5, for distance learning. A bitmoji (personal avatar) classroom is an interactive virtual classroom that bridges virtual and hands-on learning to keep students engaged. It makes resources, such as a school calendar, books, and activities, easily accessible to students and provides them with a sense of virtual familiarity and stability. Continue reading

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Locating Resources on Global Children’s and YA Literature

By Kathy Short, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Many authors, illustrators, publishers and literacy organizations offer valuable resources during this time of mandated on-line learning. An ongoing issue, however, is that only a few of these resources highlight global literature, books set in global cultures outside of the U.S. Our goal for this website is to support educators and families in engaging readers with global literature to encourage intercultural understanding across cultures. If you are a teacher educator searching for on-line readings and book lists for your courses or a teacher creating new inquiry units that are global in focus, the following resources can support your work. You can also use these features as examples for students to create their own reviews, vignettes or book recommendations. Continue reading

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2020 Global Books: Trends in the Portrayals of World War II

Kathy G. Short, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Cover of Under the Broken Sky which depicts two young Japanese girls carrying backpacks and embracing each other, looking out to the viewer on a background of desert and blue sky.Books about World War II continue to trend in global literature for children and adolescents. The 2020 global reading lists contain many books for middle grade and young adult readers that reflect on-going interest in this time period. The majority are historical fiction and focus on World War II events in Europe, but a new trend is historical fiction that focuses on events in Asia. Continue reading

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2020 Global Books: Fantasy Based in Many Cultural Traditions

Kathy G. Short, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Cover art for The Dark Fantastic includes a Black girl sitting on the edge of a tree village extending her hand to a fantastical bird.For many years, fantasy primarily originated in English-speaking countries and featured European traditions and White protagonists. The popularity of Harry Potter and the Hunger Games and the many books based in Greek and Roman mythology reflect this trend. In The Dark Fantastic, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (2019) argues that fantasy offers readers portals into real and imagined worlds but bars the doors for people of color or subjects them to marginalization and violence. Thomas sees this gap as both a lack of representation and a lack of imagination. Continue reading

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2020 Global Books: Picturebooks about Contemporary Experiences

Kathy G. Short, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Freedom Soup cover shows a Haitain grandmother in a head scarf dancing in kitchen with child in braids.A long-term issue in global literature is the lack of books showing contemporary experiences, leading to misconceptions that other cultures are set back in time in comparison to the U.S. The global novels for middle grade and young adult readers identified on the 2020 Global Reading Lists are primarily historical fiction or fantasy with the exception of refugee books, a continuation of that problematic trend. In contrast, picturebooks for younger readers include many contemporary depictions of everyday life in a range of global cultures, including Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan, Japan, China, Korea, India, Tibet, Iran, Syria and Indigenous Canada. Continue reading

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2020 Global Books: Refugee Experiences in Children’s and YA Literature

Kathy G. Short, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Story Boat cover shows two children and a cat sailing in a teacup with a flower for a mast and surrounded by animals and objects.Refugee experiences continue to dominate global children’s and YA literature in books published between June 2019 and 2020. As in previous years, many contain heart-wrenching stories of refugees experiencing displacement due to violence and war and their journeys of hardship and loss. A smaller number focus on life in refugee camps and detention centers, a sense of belonging in a new place, and home as two places in one’s heart. Continue reading