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.
• Articles and vignettes in the online journal, WOW Stories, provide access to the voices of teachers sharing their experiences with global books. These short, practical articles are accessible for undergraduate students as well as teachers and include many examples of children’s work, book ideas and descriptions of engagements. Teachers can also submit their own experiences with global literature to consider for publication.
• Exploring International and Intercultural Understanding through Global Literature is a short, descriptive guide to the work of teacher study groups to integrate global literature into their classrooms. The guide gives a quick overview of their strategies, linked to their vignettes so educators can read about the ideas that most interest them. The guide is organized around different levels of integration so teachers can consider what might work best in their context.
• Critical reviews of multicultural and global literature in the online journal, WOW Review, focus on cultural authenticity and related books. These reviews can be used to locate authentic books for units or as models on writing critical reviews. They can also submit a book review for consideration to connect an assignment with a broader audience.
• Authentic literature in Spanish can be difficult to locate and so the online journal, WOW Libros, highlights reviews of books originally published in Spanish from around the world.
• Global K-12 Reading Lists provide recommended grade-level global book lists that are updated annually and include text complexity information as well as annotations to help locate book titles that fit the needs of readers. In addition, the lists include paired books where global books are paired with classic books, such as Pride and Prejudice or The Secret Garden.
• Another example of useful global book lists are the Language and Culture Book Kits around a specific global culture, like China or Peru, and Global Story Boxes, which focus on books around a global culture for young children. In addition, the Family Story Backpacks go home with children to invite family stories around themes that families often tell stories about, such as the story of my name, birthday traditions or losing a tooth. The books and artifacts in these backpacks are listed on the site. Other book lists include an extensive annotated list of children’s and YA literature highlighting refugee experiences.
• A book search to locate book titles around a country or theme is located at the top of every page. Click on the blue magnifying glass. This will soon be supplemented with an advanced search where you can search based on multiple factors such as theme, age level, country, author and genre.
• WOW Currents has weekly blog entries around a monthly theme on issues related to global literature. The April theme is on the progress in diversifying children’s literature for specific marginalized groups, while February focused on how to critically analyze the linguistic landscapes of bilingual/multilingual books. These blog entries provide quick accessible readings around current issues and can serve as models for writing about current issues.
• My Take/Your Take is a dialogue between two readers with different connections and interpretations of the same global book. Other readers are invited to add their comments. Students could add their perspectives to these dialogues on WOW, or a similar assignment could be developed where students with differing perspectives work in pairs to dialogue about a book and post that dialogue on the class site to invite comments from other class members.
• WOW Recommends is a global book of the month, a book not to be missed. These highly recommended books provide an excellent starting point for someone new to global literature or as an example of an assignment where students nominate their own book of the month, the one book they would most strongly recommend to classmates.
• Read an interview with a global author, illustrator or translator in Authors’ Corner as a way to get to know an author who writes global or multicultural literature.
In this time of global crisis, the need to broaden our world views and develop empathy and knowledge about cultures beyond our own is increasingly critical. Reading globally invites readers to enter story worlds to experience how people live, feel and think around the world, providing the potential to transform their world views through understanding their current lives and imagining beyond themselves
Open a Book…
Open a Mind…
Change the World