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Resources Around Epidemics and Pandemics

Cholera warning posters by seventh gradersMany readers are looking for virtual escape as movement is restricted due to the spread of COVID-19. Schools nation-wide are closed, but they will soon open either on line or face-to-face and teachers will be keen to help young people make sense of current events. The Executive Board of Worlds of Words came together to determine how we might assist in the effort to find quality literature for young people around epidemics and pandemics.

This post includes a booklist of recently published fiction and non-fiction books as well as links to previously published WOW Currents posts with this focus. We’d love to hear from you too! Provide your comments and recommendations of books and other resources below. Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Frankly In Love

Cover of Frankly In Love is yellow with blue-green 3D lettering and text onlyFrank Li is, in many ways, like any boy at his high school. He has a best friend and a great desire to have a girlfriend. His best friend is Black, which produces discomfort with his traditional Korean parents, and Frank’s new girlfriend is also non-Korean. Frank, fearful of becoming a pariah like his older sister, hides his relationship from his parents, but soon hatches a plan to work with Joy, one of the “Limbos” who also has traditional Korean parents and a boyfriend who is non-Korean. Joy and Frank “date” one another, which frees them to meet with their respective love interests. This arrangement has its drawbacks. As Frank negotiates his identity as both Korean and American, and all the issues that come with being a savvy teen living in a home that falls back on old prejudices and biases of race and ethnicity, Frank’s story is imbued with humor, profound insights and adolescent sensibility that produces an enjoyable and realistic experience that both delights and challenges readers. -Recommended by Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati Continue reading

Authors' Corner

Authors’ Corner: Cynthia Leitich Smith

By Rebecca Ballenger, The University of Arizona

Color portrait of Cynthia Leitich SmithIn recent months, Cynthia Leitich Smith won the American Library Association’s American Indian Youth Literature (YA) Award for her book Hearts Unbroken and became author-curator of a new imprint, Heartdrum. She is also author of the Tantalize series, the Feral trilogy, Jingle Dancer, Rain Is Not My Indian Name, Indian Shoes, and a number of other books for children and teens. She is core faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and editor/publisher at Cynsations. We first connected with Smith when she attended the 2019 Tucson Festival of Books and then again at USBBY where she spoke on her outreach as an author on school visits. Continue reading

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Language Hierarchies in Picturebooks

By Nicola Daly, The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato, New Zealand

A sign reading No matter where you're from, we're glad you're our neighbor in Spanish, English and Arabic on a green, blue and orange background As I mentioned in in my first post for WOW Currents, I am interested in bilingual and multilingual picturebooks and how they arrange the different language texts on the page. To frame my research in this area, I use a sociolinguistic lens called Linguistic Landscape. This approach is more commonly used to examine how languages are displayed in public spaces (for example a streetscape) on signage, and it is interpreted as a reflection of the status and vitality of languages and their associated communities. Which languages are on printed signs, and which are handwritten? When several languages are on one sign, which is larger, which is first? Continue reading

WOW News

Exhibit Features Visual Conversation Between Caldecott Illustrators

By Rebecca Ballenger, Associate Director, Worlds of Words

Brutal honesty connects award winning illustrators Juana Martinez-Neal and Molly Idle. A new exhibit of original illustrations and picturebooks puts this partnership front and center at the Worlds of Words: Center for Global Literacies and Literatures in the University of Arizona College of Education. Critique to Support and Stretch: A Conversation between Juana Martinez-Neal and Molly Idle is free and open to the public who are encouraged to take in the exhibit and engage in visual critique.

Eva Halvax compares a panel from Alma with the original illustration in the WOW Studio.

English major, Eva Halvax (senior), studies illustrations that Juana Martinez-Neal and Molly Idle say are most representative of their artistic voice. The original illustrations are on loan and part of a new exhibit in Worlds of Words titled “Critique to Support & Stretch: A Conversation between Juana Martinez-Neal & Molly Idle.” Photo credit: Ileana Roman

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Two of My Favorite Books: The Kuia and the Spider and The Bomb

By Nicola Daly, The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato, New Zealand

Cover of The Kuia and the Spider depicting an old woman sitting in a chair in a kitchen looking towards a spider in the upper right cornerIn this post I’d like to share two of my favorite New Zealand picturebooks. One is an absolute classic published back in 1981, The Kuia and the Spider/Te Kuia me te pungawerewere by Patricia Grace and Robyn Kahukiwa (Penguin), and the other, The Bomb/Te Pohū by Sarah Cotter and Josh Morgan (Huia, 2019) is the 2019 New Zealand Children and Young People’s Picturebook of the the year and overall book of the year. They span an era in New Zealand children’s publishing which has seen the increase of local authors being published, and an era during which there has been a Renaissance of the Māori culture and language. Continue reading

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MTYT: Daniel and Ismail

By Susan Corapi, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL, and Deanna Day, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

Last week, Susan and Deanna looked at Lubna and Pebble to begin this month’s theme of Crossing Borders. This week, they provide their takes for another OIB book which focuses on interactions between people of different backgrounds and cultures in Juan Pablo Iglesias’s Daniel and Ismail.

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Directing the Waikato Picturebook Research Unit

By Nicola Daly, The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato, New Zealand

Cover depicts woman in Victorian era clothing with suffragettes behind herIn 2016, I established the Waikato Picturebook Research Unit based in the Division of Education at the University of Waikato. Its stated aim is to research and analyze the picturebook form and exploring its pedagogical potentials. Together with my colleague Dr. Janette Kelly-Ware, we are gradually building the activities of WaiPRU, as we call it. Continue reading

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Being a Fulbright Scholar in the Worlds of Words Center

By Nicola Daly, The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato, New Zealand

Portrait of Nicola DalyBeing a Fulbright Scholar in Worlds of Words is an amazing privilege. I arrived here in late October 2019 and will leave at the end of February 2020, after a four-month period. There are many scholarships available through Fulbright, all of them encouraging exchange between the United States and another country in the world. The Fulbright program was started in 1946 by Senator J. William Fulbright with the express purpose of fostering international exchange to encourage world peace and understanding. There are a range of exchanges available for teachers, postgraduate students and academics between the United States and approximately 160 counties in a range of 8,000 grants annually. Since its inception, there have been over 370,000 Fulbrighters who have participated in the program. Continue reading

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MTYT: A Girl Called Genghis Khan

by Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona, Tucson, and Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA

Abilities and disabilities go hand in hand and their representations in children’s picturebooks know no bounds, especially in recent publications. Success stories depicted in picturebooks provides inspiration for readers of all ages. For the month of January 2020, Seemi and Celeste provide their takes on the power of strengths and abilities especially those of little-known athletes of local and global origins. This week, they look at A Girl Called Genghis Khan: How Maria Toorpakai Wazir pretended to be a Boy, Defied the Taliban, and became a World-Famous Squash Player, written by Michelle Lord and illustrated by Shehzil Malik.

Header includes bibliographic information for A Girl Called Genghis Khan that is also listed at the bottom of the post Continue reading