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Italicizing Non-English Words: The Case of Spanish in Picturebooks

By María V. Acevedo, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
With Rebecca Ballenger, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

I read out loud All Around Us, by Xelena Gonzalez, illustrated by Adriana García, to a class of undergraduate students. When I read, “We eat what we’ve grown-crunchy lettuce, sweet carrots and spicy chiles,” one of my students said, “I love your Spanish accent.” Chiles is the only Spanish word in this picturebook and it is not italicized. The student’s comment made me think of picturebooks that highlight non-English words in one way or another and the implications of this practice to fictional characters and readers.

Cover art for La Princesa and the Pea shows a girl with a crown of flowers sitting atop multiple mismatched mattresses and a surly cat perched on the bed's footboard Continue reading

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MTYT: They Call Me Güero

By Violet Henderson and Mary Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University

Mary and Violet continue to provide their takes on the 2019 Pura Belpré award winners and honor books. This week, they look at They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems by David Bowles. The book won the Pura Belpré Honor Award for Authors for 2019.

MTYT header: They Call me Guero bibliographic information Continue reading

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Reflections for Mother’s Day, Motherhood and Significant Caregivers

By María Acevedo-Aquino, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

When I think about Mother’s Day, I think about individuals with an extraordinary capacity for nurturing, protecting, guiding, knowing, caring and loving. I also think about my mom living far away; my sister who will become a mother very soon; one of my former preschool students who lost his mom when he was 4 years old; my friend Sonia, her wife, and their baby Oscar; Dani, who awaits in a foster care residency in Spain to go back home; and, a dear friend who recently lost her son. I think about the numerous complex stories that shape personal and collective views of motherhood and days like Mother’s Day. Through this post, I hope to offer questions, rather than answers, and opportunities for dialogue, instead of a list of concepts to teach.

Julian Is a Mermaid Cover featuring a child posed with an arm in the air and wrapped in a sheet at the waist and a headdress of flowers Continue reading

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MTYT: Islandborn

April 2019 MTYT HeaderBy Mary L. Fahrenbruck and Violet Henderson, New Mexico State University

Throughout April 2019, Mary Fahrenbruck and Violet Henderson give their take on the 2019 Pura Belpré award winners and honor books (awarded to Latino/Latina writer and illustrator). In their first installment, Mary and Violet discuss Islandborn authored by Junot Díaz and illustrated by Leo Espinoza. The picturebook won the Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Award for 2019.

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Literacy Is All Around Us

By Maria Acevedo-Aquino, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, in collaboration with graduate students

When conversing with graduate students about their experiences as early childhood educators and caregivers, they often describe curricula that supports views on literacy reduced to reading and writing. These perspectives tend to overlook the multiple ways in which children, make sense of their world and construct meaning in a daily basis. While this argument is not new, the process for integrating learning experiences in the classroom align with expansive ways of thinking about literacy is a persistent struggle. This post offers learning experiences that highlight broader views on literacy to further explore the picturebook All Around Us written by Xelena Gonzáles with illustrations by Adriana Garcia.

All Around Us cover features girl meditating on circles with a portion of a rainbow visible in the upper right corner Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree

Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia NwaubaniEver wonder what happened to the 276 girls abducted from Chiko, Nigeria in 2014? World-wide attention turned to Nigeria as the terror of the Boko Haram attacked and killed many community members from the village, and then kidnapped the girls. As time passed, the story faded from our collective consciousness. Two female journalists, however, one from Nigeria and the other from Italy followed the story and gathered accounts from 57 girls who escaped from the terrorist group when government forces found and attacked it. Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani is a fictionalized account of what occurred with an afterword by Vivianna Mazza from Italy. Taking the accounts from those the journalists interviewed, Nwaubani now tells the story through the perspective of one girl who survived. Chronicling how the girls were forced to confess to a conversion to Islam or die and then treated as either slaves or wives to members of the Boko Haram, readers will be riveted by the short vignettes that authentically describe the horrors that occurred within the jungle camps of the Boko Haram. The narrative will also remind readers of the 219 girls who still remain lost to their families and community. Continue reading

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Worlds of Words Celebrates International Children’s Book Day

By Alexandria Hulslander, Intern, Worlds of Words

Worlds of Words in the University of Arizona College of Education celebrates International Children’s Book Day with a special exhibit of international honor books for children and adolescents. Lithuania, this year’s host country for ICBD, provides the theme, “Books Help Us to Slow Down.” ICBD has been celebrated for over half a century on the birthday of Hans Christian Anderson, April 2. WOW’s display is free and open to the public from March 25 to April 6.

Carolina Hoyos Slow Reading for International Children's Book Day Continue reading

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WOW Recommends: Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Cover for Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg MedinaMerci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina, recalls the the middle grade experience of no longer being a child but not yet being an adult. This is the confusing age when responsibilities increase though little explanation is given as to why. The age when young people begin to question authority and long for independence, but still look for approval and acceptance. Medina captures all this in this 2019 Newbery Medal winning book. Continue reading

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WOW Recommends: The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle

Cover from The Truth as Told by Mason ButtleMason Buttle is a sweaty mess of a kid. He says so himself. Mason understands where he resides in the pecking order at his school and at his bus stop, where he is apple bombed daily by the local bullies for being, well, Mason Buttle. What Mason doesn’t understand is how the rest of the town views him. He doesn’t learn that until later, when the looks he thought meant “sorry your friend died” really questioned whether or not he was the one who killed his friend. But what no one understands is that Mason is not a liar, and his good, good heart has kept him innocent until his newest friend Calvin Chumsky goes missing. The condemnation that had been hidden from him is revealed, but then, so is the truth —-the truth about so many things in Mason’s life and family. Continue reading