When Wishes Go Awry

By T. Gail Pritchard, Ph.D., University of Arizona

What do you wish for — Love? Health? Happiness? Friendship? Sometimes the wishes are for yourself, your family, a specific person, or even the world. This week’s blog takes a look at wishes made and how those wishes go awry, from wanting a friend to make the basketball team to wanting to be liked. In each case, when the wishes go awry, the wisher is left wondering how to undo those wishes. In the process, we learn about each of the wishers — who they are, aspects of their character, and what they most value. Are they foolish? Are they greedy? Or do they just want to help better themselves and their family?

wishes go awry Continue reading

“The Wish List” Explores Do-overs in Life (and Death)

By T. Gail Pritchard, Ph.D., University of Arizona

I bet most of us have considered “do overs,” what we would re-do in our life if given a chance. Maybe we would change a conversation, an action (or lack thereof), or a decision. In The Wish List by Eoin Colfer, Lowrie McCall’s list consists of four things he wished he had done in his life. Furthermore, the fate of Meg Finn’s soul depends on her success in helping him complete his wish list. School Library Journal describes their journey as “both humorous and poignant, as Lowrie confronts his regrets and Meg strives to attain salvation.”

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I Wish I May, I Wish I Might… Wishing in Michelle Harrison’s One Wish

By T. Gail Pritchard, Ph.D., University of Arizona

Think back to some of your earliest memories of wishing, perhaps when blowing out birthday candles, wishing upon a star — particularly a shooting star or the first star of the night, throwing a penny in a wishing well or fountain, getting the long end of the wishbone, blowing on a dandelion puff, or maybe writing a wish on a piece of paper and tying it to a tree or hiding it under a rock. Continue reading

Diversity within Children’s and Young Adolescent Latino Literature: Afro-Latinos and Afro-Caribbean Communities

by Carmen M. Martinez-Roldan and Katherine Lorena del Carmen Keim-Riveros



In our last blog of the month we focus on how the authors’ incorporation of non-English words in Afro-Latino and Afro-Caribbean literature can contribute to a better understanding and appreciation of the richness and complexities of Latino culture and the bilingualism of their communities. The books discussed through this month were all English-based texts, in which the authors purposefully incorporated the linguistic repertoire Continue reading

Diversity within Children’s and Young Adolescent Latino Literature: Afro-Caribbean and Indigenous Communities

by Carmen M. Martínez-Roldán & Richelle Jurasek

PanamaCanalThis week we continue our focus on Afro-Caribbean influences in Latino children’s literature but also start addressing Indigenous perspectives. Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal, another historical fiction novel by Cuban-American author Margarita Engle, offers a window into the experiences of Caribbean islander workers but also into the experiences of indigenous communities Continue reading

Diversity within Children’s and Young Adolescent Latino Literature: Afro-Latinos and Afro-Caribbean communities, Part II

by Carmen M. Martínez-Roldán & Amy Olson



The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano, by Margarita Engle (2006)

Last week, we started featuring and commenting on literature that represents the experiences of Afro-Latinos and Afro-Caribbean communities Continue reading

Diversity within Children’s and Young Adolescent Latino Literature

By Carmen M. Martínez-Roldán & William García

Afro-Latino Adolescent LiteratureLatino children’s literature in the United States refers to literature written by Latino and Latina authors, whether in English or Spanish and regardless of the topics they address (Ada, 2003). Giving the great intragroup differences in social class, immigration patterns, and language practices among Latinos, we would expect Latino literature to reflect such diversity, but there is still a long way to go to meet that goal. Continue reading

Responsible Citizens, Workers and Activists: Uncovering Informational Text Trios

By Charlene Klassen Endrizzi with Karen Matis

text trios
Open minds Operate best.
Critical thinking Over tests.
Wisdom can’t be memorized.
Educate! Agitate! Organize!

Nagara, 2013

Innosanto Nagara’s ambitious declaration parallels Eel’s change of heart which initiated Karen’s and my month-long investigation into Responsible Citizens and Workers. A is for Activist embodies an edginess designed to encourage teachers and students to contemplate action. Our classrooms need to include more moments of agitation where teachers and students are nudged to evaluate their current lives and ponder civic responsibility. Continue reading

Responsible Citizens: Considering the Power of Words

By Karen Matis with Charlene Klassen Endrizzi

the power of words
“I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race.”
from The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, 2012

Death, an unconventional narrator, contemplates this final thought in Marcus Zusak’s historical fiction novel The Book Thief. In the context of World War II, these words offer a blunt description of a citizen who stands up for what is right and the possible unfortunate consequences of becoming an advocate for others. This week we continue our investigation of Responsible Citizens alongside a different seventh grade class studying The Book Thief. I offered this rhetorical question to help students contemplate Zusak’s thoughts related to their lives: “With which group do you want to be associated? the overestimated, popular opinion, or the underestimated, who labor against the grain to enact positive change?” Continue reading