WOW News

Joan Sandin’s Long Road to Publication

By Maya Patterson

Worlds of Words’s exhibit, Inspiration to Celebration: Publishing Journeys is now open to the public. The exhibit features the publishing journey of Coyote School News by Joan Sandin, an award-winning author, illustrator and translator. Sandin’s original artwork for Coyote School News hangs in the WOW Studio, and the Mary J. Wong Collection showcases her journey of publishing the book. Newspaper covers from two publications that feature the voices of young reporters, the Little Cowpuncher and Bear Essential News, also hang in the exhibit in the WOW Hall Gallery.

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MTYT: Symptoms of Being Human

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, Leanna Lucero and Tabitha P. Collins

Riley is a gender fluid teenager who struggles with their identity on daily basis — sometimes Riley feels like a boy, other times a girl, and sometimes neither. The added weight of a sometimes complicated secret gender identity on a normal teenager is often overwhelming to Riley, so at the suggestion of their therapist, Riley creates an online blog using an alias as a method of venting their frustrations as well as to create a forum to openly discuss their struggles as a gender fluid person. Despite these difficulties, Riley is beginning to settle in at a new school with new friends (Bec and Solo) who seem to accept them for who they are. When an anonymous commenter on Riley’s blog discovers their true identity, Riley must decide whether to erase the blog and walk away from this newfound safe space or to come out and face their parents and the rest of the world.

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin Continue reading

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Imagination to Celebration: Publishing Journeys Exhibit

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

Award-winning author and illustrator Joan Sandin reflects on the experience researching, writing and publishing the children’s book Coyote School News from 3 to 5 p.m. on January 28 in Worlds of Words. The event celebrates the opening of Worlds of Words’s new exhibit, Imagination to Celebration: Publishing Journeys.

Coyote School News Continue reading

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MTYT: Beautiful Music for Ugly Children

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, Leanna Lucero and Tabitha P. Collins

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children is the story of Gabe, who has been living as Elizabeth, but has known for some time that he is Gabe and must figure out a way to show himself to the world. Through his job at a local radio station, and with the support of his friend and neighbor, John, Gabe is able to experiment with sharing his identity during his late-night radio show. Unfortunately, people eventually begin to make the connections between Gabe and Elizabeth, and when things take a turn for the worst, Gabe must make some difficult decisions. Using humor and a wide range of musical references, Cronn-Mills addresses the delicate subject of an often ignored population in a way that is authentic and engaging.

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills Continue reading

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MTYT: Luna

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, Leanna Lucero and Tabitha P. Collins

Liam has never felt okay in his own skin because deep down, he knows that he is a girl playing a boy during his waking hours. At night, though, Luna emerges. Safe in the confines of her sister Regan’s bedroom, she transforms into the girl that she is inside. As Luna becomes more comfortable with her chosen identity, she can’t hide from the world anymore. Luna feels she must emerge from her cocoon and present as Luna to the world. But will Regan and the rest of Luna’s friends and family be able to accept Luna for who she is? And can Regan ever stop resenting the choices that Luna has made and how those choices affect her? Peters’ novel shows the struggles of a transgender teen trying to come to terms with her identity as well as shows readers how Luna’s struggles (and the struggles of others like her) can impact the lives of close friends and family members.

Luna by Julie Anne Peters Continue reading

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MTYT: I am J

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, Leanna Lucero and Tabitha P. Collins

This month we discuss adolescent literature that features coming out stories of transgender and gender fluid adolescents. Mary and Leanna happened upon this genre when they brainstormed ways to interpret a Crossing Borders theme in their undergraduate teacher-education classes. Tabitha, a doctoral candidate, focuses on children’s and adolescent literature that features LGBTQ+ characters as part of their research agenda. What follows in each discussion is a synopsis of the novel and excerpts from our conversations about multiple topics including believability (Tunnel & Jacobs, 2004), stereotypes, story patterns (Stott, 1978), supports in place for LGBTQ youth (particularly at school), and the authors’ calls to action.

I Am J by Cris Beam, global perspectives

January’s My Take/Your Take begins with a discussion of I am J by Cris Beam. Continue reading

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Immigrant and Refugee Narratives from 2016

By Lauren Freedman

This week, I will be sharing four new books from 2016. These four books speak to the most current issues facing us if we want to continue to be a welcoming nation in 2017 and beyond: refugee safety, immigration, undocumented Americans. The first two books are picture books that tell refugee stories. One provides a general sense of the refugee experience, the other is about a specific refugee family from Syria. The third book, also a picture book, is a compilation of United States’ immigrant stories told in sparse, lyrical text accompanied by many moving photographs of individuals and families from many different countries around the world. The fourth book is an academic text for adults that shares and discusses the experiences of undocumented teens living in America.

journey_cover Continue reading

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Picture Books, Chapter Books Showcasing Immigrants and Refugees

By Lauren Freedman

This week, I am sharing works of fiction, nine picture books with illustrations that deepen the reader’s empathy and understanding and four chapter books, all written in free verse. The free verse, I think, captures the shifting emotions and swift changes in locations and circumstances the characters are experiencing and helps the reader feel part of the story. Though fiction, all these stories are based on the real and often current experiences of refugees and immigrants from many parts of the world. For most of the books shared this week there are extension resources available on the internet.

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Immigrant and Refugee Narratives in Non-Fiction

By Lauren Freedman

As we continue to look at the challenges and rewards for both the immigrants/refugees and the wider American society of welcoming and supporting new families, I wanted this week to share non-fiction accounts, both autobiographical and biographical.

immigrant and refugee narratives in non-fiction Continue reading

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The Importance of Sharing Immigrant and Refugee Stories

By Lauren Freedman

December’s WOW Currents will focus on sharing immigrant and refugee stories of those children and their families who have been forced to leave the comfort of their homelands. Immigrants and refugees leave their known lives due to war, famine and genocide, among other hardships and disasters. The topic of immigration and refugees is of specific relevance in the current political climate throughout the United States. Sharing immigrant and refugee stories is particularly important in our schools, where bullying of students who are deemed to be “different” due to language, religion and skin color has increased.

sharing immigrant and refugee stories

Illustrations of characters from Playing War by Kathy Beckwith, illustrated by Lea Lyon.


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