The sparkling picture book, Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow with illustrations by Ebony Glenn, is a delightful, warm story about an African-American, Muslim family. The girl who tells the story celebrates her love for her mother and the khimar that her mother wears. On the first page she tells us, “A khimar is a flowing scarf that my mommy wears. Before she walks out the door each day, she wraps one around her head.” The girl loves to play dress-up or pretend games wearing her mother’s yellow khimar. She becomes a queen with a golden train, a shooting star, a mama bird or a super hero in a cape, “dashing from room to room at the speed of light. Daddy snatches me up and I fly. Mommy can’t stop laughing when his bristly beard tickles my cheek with a kiss.” Sometimes Mom-Mom (her grandmother) visits after her Sunday service when the girl wears the khimar, Mom-Mom “sings out ‘Sweet Jesus’ and calls me Sunshine. Mom-Mom doesn’t wear a khimar. She doesn’t go to the mosque like Mommy and Daddy do. We are a family and we love each other just the same.” Continue reading
By Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA
Daniel Heath Justice’s new book Why Indigenous Literatures Matter is a marvelous look at the the critical issues within and surrounding Indigenous Literature in Canada and the United States. Justice, Colorado born Cherokee citizen, now also a Canadian citizen, holds the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Literature and Expressive Culture at the University of British Columbia. The work is academic, but personal and poetic. It highlights contemporary Indigenous authors writing for adults and children and touches on fiction, poetry, personal essay, and memoir.
By Zachary Steiner, Editorial Assistant for Worlds of Words
Worlds of Words seeks applications for the Teen Reading Ambassador initiative, a program in the University of Arizona College of Education offering a college experience with young adult literature to high school students. Ambassadors learn about young adult literature under the direction of faculty and staff with expertise in children’s literature, education, library science and marketing.Continue reading
By Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA
Last week at AILDI, the American Indian Languages Development Institute at the University of Arizona, Jon Proudstar gave a talk about infusing Indigenous language and culture into his comic books. Although I was unable to attend, I am happy to see Indigenous comics and graphic narratives being a part of the conversation at AILDI.
In this week’s MTYT, Holly and Marilyn discuss how different books with similar themes connect to one another in meaningful ways. When these connections are recognized, separate pieces of literature are able to be looked at together. This creates the opportunity for younger readers to further educate themselves on the different cultures within these books.
By Kathy Short, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Although the classics serve as the foundation of most secondary literature classrooms, their domination is challenged by the call for cultural perspectives that reflect the diversity of our global society. The classics are critiqued for their basis in Western mainstream perspectives, biases against women and people of color, and inclusion of dated language and confusing writing styles, such as obscure expressions and unfamiliar sentence constructions. In addition, few classics have teens as main characters, having been written for adult audiences, and so teens struggle to connect. Given that these canonical texts are usually mandated reading, one way that teachers can increase relevancy and globalize reading is to pair the required classics with young adult global literature. These pairings can bring more diverse literature into the curriculum and, at the same time, create a context for understanding the classic work and its relevance for middle and high school students.
This week we discuss Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai as one of the books that present situations of pain and bravery. Each book we looked at this month offers surprises and controversy. Each is thought-provoking. As we said when we recommended Escape from Aleppo as our book of the month, the novel seems right out of the headlines.
by Kathy Short, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Our careful survey of global literature available for K-5 readers in the U.S. led us to concerns as well as possibilities. We searched for global literature that is currently in print and met our criteria for text complexity as well as usefulness within the school curriculum. This survey raised several concerns as well as provided possibilities for engagements with readers, especially around paired books.
As Marilyn and Holly share their thoughts on books that present situations of pain and bravery as young people learn to negotiate the difficulties of life, they consider The Book of Dust, Volume I, La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. Like the books discussed previously, this book offers surprises and a bit of controversy. It is worthy of reading time, but waiting for the next book may be tough.
By Kathy Short, The University of Arizona
The standards movement in the U.S. has placed a great deal of emphasis on Lexile levels as a means of determining the appropriateness of a book for a reader, using Lexiles to determine the complexity of a text. The assumption is that readers at each grade level band need to read books within specific Lexile levels or their reading achievement will be negatively affected. Teachers who do not challenge their students to read books within these bands are viewed as negligent in their teaching of reading and as handicapping students. These assumptions can be challenged from many perspectives, including the lack of research to support this position (Allington, McCuiston, & Billen, 2015). Other issues emerge with a close examination of the actual Lexile levels of exemplar texts and global literature.