WOW Currents

Understanding and Crossing Geographic Borders with Children’s Literature

By Janine Schall

Yesterday I drove sixty miles west to attend a meeting on another campus. As I drove, I thought about the borders I was crossing — boundaries between one school district and the next, streets that marked the difference between one town and another, a county line announced by a road sign and a change in pavement. I also paralleled the U.S./Mexico border; when I arrived at the town where the campus is located one left turn would have sent me to the bridge across the Rio Grande River and into Mexico.

Borders are everywhere! But why? What purpose do they serve? How are they established? Who benefits from them? Who is harmed?

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WOW Currents

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 Currents

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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WOW Currents

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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WOW Currents

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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WOW Currents

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 Currents

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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WOW Currents

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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WOW Currents

Supporting Refugees and Immigrants through Bilingual Books

By Susan Corapi

Learning a new language can be fun depending on how it is taught and the circumstances that are prompting a person to take on the task. Immersion style language learning, when an immigrant is thrust into a new cultural context, is a different matter. It is stressful. It is incredibly tiring. It can also discombobulate a person’s sense of identity, which for many of us is partially anchored in language and the ability to communicate. When that ability to express feelings, ask for what we want, or simply pass the time of day is stripped away, we begin to wonder who we are.

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WOW Currents

Supporting Refugees and Immigrants through Silent Books

By Susan Corapi

On the heels of Lauren Freedman’s posts about the importance of stories about the refugee experience, this month’s blog posts will focus on practical uses of books to support refugees in ways that can help them feel welcome, negotiate the language learning and adaptation process, and gain a sense of a new home.

silent books

A selection of artwork from Bluebird by Bob Staake, listed below.

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