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Fiction that Inspires

By Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati

Last week I talked about the three biographies on the WOW Recommends list and how inspiring they are for young people. This week I want to talk about a few equally inspiring fiction pieces. Those three books are The Stars at Oktober Bend (2018) by Glenda Millard, Speak: The Graphic Novel (2018) by Laurie Halse Anderson, and Escape from Aleppo (2018) by N.H. Senzai. While I suggest these books are inspiring, that does not mean they are without tragedy. In fact, all three chronicle an overwhelming tragedy for each of the protagonists. And it is their battle to overcome despite the tragedy, their hope for their futures and their ultimate victories that are so inspiring. The readers are with these characters as they encounter or struggle through the aftermath of each of their individual horrors. Let’s take a look at each one in turn. They deserve this second look!

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Re-Introducing 2018 WOW Recommends

By Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati

Each year, members of the Worlds of Words community recommend monthly books for readers to consider through the WoW Recommends feature. The main criteria is that the book must have a publish date within the last two years. Taking a look back at the 2018 list, I was interested in finding out what had been recommended so that I might read these books and think about how they may or may not resonate with me. I was also curious about what themes were discussed so that I might share my own thoughts about these texts.
WOW Recommends: Book of the Month Continue reading

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MTYT: Undocumented: A Worker’s Fight

By Kathleen Crawford-McKinney, Wayne State University and Deanna Day-Wiff, Washington State University

In the last installment of November’s MTYT, Kathleen Crawford-McKinney and Deanna Day-Wiff talk about the picturebook A Undocumented Worker’s Fight, written by Duncan Tonatiuh. November’s theme is Global Perspectives on the Refugee and Immigrant Experience. This book pays homage to Mexican pre-Columbian heritage by presenting the illustrations in the style of the ancient Mixtec codex, which means the story literally unfolds in an accordion format. It tells the story of a undocumented Mexican immigrant who has come to the United States for work.

My Take Your Take Undocumented: A Worker's Fight Continue reading

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MTYT: Illegal

By Dr. Kathleen Crawford-McKinney, Wayne State University and Deanna Day-Wiff, Washington State University

In the forth installment of November’s MTYT, Dr. Kathleen Crawford-McKinney and Deanna Day-Wiff talk about the picturebook Illegal, written by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin and illustrated by Giovanni Rigano. November’s theme is Global Perspectives on the Refugee and Immigrant Experience. This book portrays the struggle of a young boy who is searching for his brother and sister as he journeys from Africa to Europe.

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MTYT: Marwan’s Journey

By Dr. Kathleen Crawford-McKinney, Wayne State University and Deanna Day-Wiff, Washington State University.

In the third installment of November’s MTYT, Dr. Kathleen Crawford-McKinney and Deanna Day-Wiff talk about the picturebook Marwan’s Journey, written by Patricia de Arias and illustrated by Laura Borràs. November’s theme is Global Perspectives on the Refugee and Immigrant Experience. This book tells the story of a boy who was forced to leave his country and seek a life of freedom and safety.

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Gender Themed Latinx Children’s Literature

By Gilberto Peña Lara, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Gender is often presented as a binary where children have only two specific gender trajectories. As social norms, children are expected to conform to male or female ways of being. When children deviate from these social rules they are often met with harsh scolding, ridicule or even threats of harm. School is a place of socialization where children are socialized in many ways including rigid gendered identities. The classroom also offers important opportunities to break with sexist and homophobic attitudes and language. Just as we have a responsibility to stand up to racism or advocate for diversity, we also need to position gender identity as equally important and a basic human right. Continue reading

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MTYT: Dreamers

By Dr. Kathleen Crawford-McKinney, Wayne State University and Deanna Day-Wiff, Washington State University

In the second installment of November’s MTYT, Dr. Kathleen Crawford-McKinney and Deanna Day-Wiff talk about the picturebook Dreamers, written by Yuyi Morales. November’s theme is Global Perspectives on the Refugee and Immigrant Experience. This book depicts the real life struggle of a single mother who crossed the US border with her young son in order to seek out a better life.

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Exploring the Latinx Immigration Experience through Children’s Literature

By Maria Leija, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

There are many children’s books that are now available to discuss immigration. Discussing immigration sheds light on the emotional and physical hardships that documented and undocumented immigrants face as they immigrate to another country and/or live in their new country. The impact of immigration status on teachers’ as well as students’ and their families’ lives continues to be important for understanding the need for changes in schools. For example, societal views on immigration affects families’ home life and children’s schooling experiences. Because immigration policies and practices affect the health, academic performance, and school attendance of undocumented students or students living in mixed-status families; teachers, administrators, and school communities are not exempt from dealing with the repercussions of immigration policies. The American Federation of Teachers encourages teachers to discuss immigration issues as a way to create a safe learning environment and so that students identify educators as allies who can provide important information. Continue reading