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MTYT: Unstoppable: How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team Defeated Army

by Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona, Tucson, and Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA

For the month of January 2020, Seemi and Celeste continue providing their takes on books centered on the power of strengths and abilities, especially those of little-known athletes of local and global origins. This week, they discuss Unstoppable: How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team Defeated Army, written by Art Coulson and illustrated by Nick Hardcastle.

Unstoppable Header with Bibliographic information, which is also availabe at the bottom of this post Continue reading

Books Provide a Glimpse of History through Music

by Janelle Mathis, University of North Texas

A Is for Audra cover features six leading ladies of broadway sharing a stageAs we realize, music has been part of mankind’s history since its beginning. The 2019 published books shared here reflect only a few of the ways it has been woven into lives but can encourage readers to seek instances across genre. Broadway is known as the place where music and story intersect in powerful ways and the voices of Broadway impact how these stories are told. A Is for Audra, written by John Robert Allman and illustrated by Peter Emmerich, informs readers about leading ladies who have performed through song, dance and drama on some of the world’s most important stages. With an A-to-Z format, this book celebrates women of Broadway and their noted roles. There have also been biographies of musicians during 2019 that reveal music’s significance in their lives and, thus, their impact in bringing varied music to others. Guitar Genius: How Les Paul Engineered the Solid-Body Electric Guitar and Rocked the World, written by Kim Tomsic and illustrated by Brett Helquist, speaks to invention as well as music. Elvis is King! by Jonah Winter relates details of Elvis’s life with 3-dimensional, hand-built and photographed illustrations by Red Nose Studio. Continue reading

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MTYT: Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery

by Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona, Tucson, and Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA

This month we look at representation around abilities and disabilities in children’s picturebooks. Last week we discussed The Proudest Blue. This week, we take on Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery.

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Literary Insights to Social, Traditional and Cultural Aspects of Music

by Janelle Mathis, University of North Texas

Music is often a focus in literature as readers learn about this communicative art form. It is also a way of contextualizing a character, an event or a culture–revealing a diversity of insights into the daily lives and cultures of the people within the stories told. The books shared here, all published in 2019, represent just a few of the ways music exists in our lives. Three of the books are picturebooks sharing family joy that is supported and expressed through music.

Freedom Soup cover shows a Haitian grandmother in a head scarf dancing in kitchen with child in braids.Freedom Soup by Tami Charles and illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara is a Haitian story told around the Haitian new year custom of making and eating Freedom Soup, a tradition reflecting the Haitian Revolution. As Ti Gran teaches Belle how to make Freedom Soup, readers experience the process as well as the music that enlivens the experience. The kompa not only provides music as they dance around the kitchen, but most importantly, it provides background for Ti Gran as she tells the story of the Haitian Revolution. Both text and illustration afford readers the jubilant feel of the music. Continue reading

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MTYT: The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family

Text reads January 2020  Abilities and Disabilities and their Significance in Picturebooks by Seemi Aziz and Celeste Trimble

by Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona, Tucson, and Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA

Abilities and disabilities go hand in hand and their representations in children’s picturebooks know no bounds, especially in recent publications. In the instance of strengths and abilities; one observes multiple representations of tennis players in recent brilliant picturebooks such as Game Changers: The story of Venus and Serena Williams by the Ransomes, Sisters by Jeanette Winter, Serena: The Littlest Sister by Karlin Gray and Monica Ahanonu. Recently Simone Biles made history when she became the gymnast with the most World medals and most World gold medals of any gender, as well as the female gymnast with the most World all-around titles. This alone may assure Biles presence in future books. Reading about success stories through picturebooks provide inspiration for children of all ages. For the month of January 2020, we will take on the power of strengths and abilities especially those of little-known athletes of local and global origins.

Text in header can be found at end of post. Continue reading

Literature that Engages Readers In Music

By Janelle Mathis, University of North Texas

Music and Literature

Skating Over Think Ice by Jean MillsMusic as a multimodal form of communication can be traced back to primitive societies where it served in many cultural roles, for example in religious rituals, healing processes or sharing societal ideologies. Throughout history, music has been an aesthetic engagement for both performers and listeners, a source of hopefulness and encouragement, as well as a cognitive practice. Music aligns with literature in that both enable us to share our stories (often with stories embedded in music), learn more about ourselves and others and comprehend the world around us as it supports the development of intercultural competencies. It is more recently acknowledged that music and literacy are processed through the same cognitive areas of the brain, pointing to an even closer connection between language and music (Mathis, 2019). Continue reading

Authors' Corner

Authors’ Corner: Darryn Joseph

By Nicola Daly, WOW Scholar-in-Residence, New Zealand Fulbright Scholar, University of Waikato

Darryn Joseph is an author/illustrator based in Aotearoa/New Zealand with affiliations to the Ngāti Maniapoto tribe. He is also a university senior lecturer (a professor in American terminology) of Te Reo Māori, the Māori language at Massey University in Te Ika a Māui, the North island of New Zealand. In 2003, he won an award for a short story written in Te Reo Māori and was then commissioned by Huia Publishers (based in Wellington) to write a sci-fi chapter book in Te Reo Māori. RT3: Ki Tua o Rangi Ātea (2004) led to two further books in a trilogy: RT3: Ki Tua o K-T-Pae (2005) and RT3: Ki Tua o Tāwauwau (2006). In 2010, Hewa won the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) Te Kura Pounamu Award for children’s books in Te Reo Māori. According to Darryn, “Hewa is about a boy who wants to help protect his family and friends from a baddie. It involves American military software, a futuristic battleship called the USS Barack Obama and artificial intelligences gaining sentience and self determination.”

Head shot of Darryn Joseph. Behind him is one of his paintings of bold strokes in green and red. Continue reading

Fantasy and Science Fiction for the Adventurous Reader

Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

This week, let’s take a look at three books that reside outside of our current reality, but have real potential for informing us about the world! Two pieces of fantasy were recommended this year, and one piece of science fiction made it to the list (in December). I will start with the stunning fantasies and then finish this with a look at a gangbuster piece of science fiction. Continue reading