Hello, Dear Enemy! comes to University of Arizona College of Education

By Rebecca Ballenger, Coordinator of Outreach and Collections, Worlds of Words

The news is bleak. Even in homes where comfort and security are the rule, the media confronts children and adults with images of war, animosity and displacement. Some are directly affected while others have many questions, and all seek answers. The traveling exhibit, Hello, Dear Enemy!, does not provide answers, but it does provide a path to conversation. Worlds of Words in the University of Arizona College of Education is the first stop for this powerful collection from the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany.

Hello, Dear Enemy!

Hello, Dear Enemy! is a traveling exhibit created by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany and makes its first stop at Worlds of Words in the University of Arizona College of Education. WOW invites the community to come tour the exhibit, which is free and open to the public. Photo by Jen Ryder.

“This exhibit provides an exciting opportunity for Worlds of Words to showcase an international selection of unique and striking picturebooks and posters from many world languages and global cultures,” says Kathy Short, Professor of Language, Reading and Culture and Director of WOW. “We are honored to be chosen for the first showing of this traveling exhibit that relates so closely to our mission of building bridges of understanding across the world.”

The picturebooks and posters on display in the Hello, Dear Enemy! exhibit provide an international perspective on conflict, peace and humanity. Some of the books are classics, but most were published in multiple world languages within the last 15 years in countries around the world and tell stories of everyday life where escalating conflict overwhelms peaceful interactions. The exhibit focuses on four main themes: Experiences of War, Destruction and Displacement; Power Struggles and the Origin and Escalation of Violence; Prejudice, Ostracism and Imagined Enemies; Utopias of Peace and Anti-War Books.

“This set of picturebooks is particularly significant for Tucson, given the many refugees we have welcomed into our community, and our own continuing efforts at civil discourse in everyday conversations. The books depict the fears and hopes we share across cultures through powerful images and stories,” says Short.

Picturebooks combine compelling stories with visually striking illustrations to create a safety zone for exploring harsh and very real events. Picturebooks also tend to avoid pathos or shocking directness. The result is that children can address existential problems, fears and threats in constructive ways without feeling overwhelmed. Worlds of Words has created hands-on activities for young people (and young-at-heart people) to accompany Hello, Dear Enemy! and to help visitors reflect on the exhibit.

Hello, Dear Enemy! is presented by the International Youth Library and Worlds of Words with help from Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy (CERCLL). It will be on display in Worlds of Words mid-August through mid-December. The collection is free to visit and open to the public on 9-5, Monday-Friday and 9-1 on Saturdays. For more information or to schedule a guided tour, contact wow@email.arizona.edu.


Hello, Dear Enemy! was conceived by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany, and was updated in 2014. It is based on the popular travel exhibit of the same name that has toured the world since 1996, and was generously subsidized by the Municipal Department of Arts and Culture of the City of Munich, capital of the Free State of Bavaria, Germany.

Housed at the University of Arizona, College of Education, Worlds of Words is in the Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Department and holds an estimated 36,000 volumes of children’s and adolescent literature focusing on world cultures and Indigenous peoples. WOW is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays excluding holidays. Find more information about WOW at wowlit.org.

The University of Arizona, College of Education advances the study and practice of education and demonstrates relationships between study and practice. The College of Education accomplishes this mission by fulfilling, with the highest possible standards of excellence, four equally important and related functions:
• Prepare persons for professional roles in education and education-related fields
• Conduct research and engage in scholarship directly and indirectly related to educational concerns, issues, and activities
• Provide leadership in the conduct, advancement, study, and evaluation of the process of education, education policy, and in educational organizations at local, state, national, and international levels
• Provide service and support to local, state, national, and international educational agencies

Established in 1885, the University of Arizona, the state’s super land-grant university with two medical schools, produces graduates who are real-world ready through its 100% Student Engagement initiative. Recognized as a global leader and ranked 16 for the employability of its graduates, UA is also a leader in research, bringing more than $606 million in research investment each year, and ranking 20 among all public universities. UA is advancing the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships, and is a member of the Association of American of Universities, the 62 leading public and private research universities. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $8.3 billion annually.

The Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy (CERCLL) is a Title VI Language Resource Center. They research culture, language and literacy within less commonly taught languages (LCTLs). They also provide educators with teaching resources and opportunities for meaningful professional development.

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