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Developing Intercultural Competence with OIBs, Part 1: Becoming Curious

By Susan Corapi, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL

This last year I had the joy of serving on the USBBY committee for the 2019 list of Outstanding International Books (OIB). I loved every minute of reading around 450 titles that came from around the world. What could be better than a good book that stretches my mind and my emotions? So, this month I want to add on to the WOW Currents piece from February in which fellow committee member, Janelle Mathis, shares titles that intrigue her.

I will profile more of the 2019 titles by focusing on ways in which the books can support the development of intercultural competence–the ability to move between cultures well. I selected one characteristic of intercultural competence each week, pairing it with outstanding international books that can provide examples (or non-examples) of the characteristic.

The first characteristic is curiosity about the world, and that includes curiosity about a lot of things! It is one that goes beyond what is known as the “Fs” of culture (the external things we look at when thinking about different cultures): food, fashion, festivals, famous people and flags. The curiosity of an interculturally competent person centers more on discovering the values and beliefs that make people do what they do. Below are both works of fiction and nonfiction. The first embeds that curiosity in a story; the second presents information in a fascinating way that makes us want to know more.

Book covers of the OIB books for developing intercultural competence mentioned in this post. Continue reading

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Malala’s Magic Pencil and Free As a Bird

By Seemi Aziz, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

The next couple of books for this final week focusing on books about Malala Yousafzai are Malala’s Magic Pencil and Free As a Bird. Malala’s Magic Pencil is written by Malala herself and published in 2017. Free As a Bird is more recent, published in 2018, and is written and illustrated by Lina Maslo, who lives in South Carolina.

Malala's Magic Pencil Cover as described in post Continue reading

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MTYT: The Old Man

By Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA and María Acevedo-Aquino, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

This month Celeste and María consider stories that examine issues of hunger, poverty and homelessness. In each of the stories, the characters are represented in a dignified and respectful manner. This week, they discuss The Old Man, written by Sarah V., illustrated by Claude K. Dubois and translated Daniel Hanh.

The Old Man Banner with bibliographic information that is also listed at bottom of this post. Continue reading

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More Books about Malala Yousafzai

By Seemi Aziz, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

In week three, I explore further trends in books about Malala Yousafzai and issues that lie therein. For this post, I discuss Malala A Brave Girl from Pakistan by Jeanette Winter. This Chicago-based American writer has written extensively about international regions and issues, as well as the regions where Muslims reside, within the genres of fiction and nonfiction. Her famed stories include The Librarian of Basra set in Iraq and Nasreen’s Secret School set in Afghanistan. I also discuss Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words by Karen Leggett Abouraya, a journalist turned author who is married to an Egyptian and travels widely.

Malala Yousafzai by Karen Leggett Abouraya cover collage art depicts Malala with other students holding composition books Continue reading

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MTYT: A Different Pond

By Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA and María Acevedo-Aquino, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

This month Celeste and María consider stories that examine issues of hunger, poverty and homelessness. In each of the stories, the characters are represented in a dignified and respectful manner. This week, they discuss A Different Pond, written by Bao Phi and illustrated by Thi Bui.

A Different Pond My Take Your Take with bibliographic information (also found at the end of the post) Continue reading

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Malala Activist for Girls’ Education and For the Right to Learn

By Seemi Aziz, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Most of the books mentioned in the first week of this series on books about Malala Yousafzai were submitted for book awards and considered distinctly above and beyond the run on the mill books that frame the Malala rhetoric by at least the publishers. Each story has the same narrative with various distinctions and have varied illustration distinctions. Malala story’s attraction is undeniable in all of the texts. Her being shot and surviving gives credence to the story as the girl who lived to use her incident to further her cause.

Cover art for Malala, Activist for Girls Education is an illustration of Malala in a bright pink scarf holding a bouquet of flowers and books Continue reading

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MTYT: Maddi’s Fridge

By Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA and María Acevedo-Aquino, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

MTYT Featured Image Decorative

This month Celeste and María look carefully at stories that examine issues of hunger, poverty and homelessness. In each of the stories, the characters are represented in a dignified and respectful manner. They begin with Maddi’s Fridge, written by Lois Brandt and illustrated by Vin Vogel.

Maddi's Fridge Bibliographic Information Also Listed at Bottom of Post Continue reading

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Malala Yousafzai In Books for Children

By Seemi Aziz, The University of Arizona, Tucson

I Am Malala cover depicting Malala in a red floral scarf against a teal backgroundSince Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani heroine who propagates education for women, hit the world stage there has been a huge spotlight on her life and activities globally, especially captured and projected in the arena of children’s books. Her near-death experience at the hands of the Taliban sets her story apart in more ways than one. Her dramatic entry into the global narrative reinforces concerns of women’s oppression and lack of education in Muslim countries and takes it to whole new level. Continue reading

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