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MTYT: Shi-Shi Etko

By Celeste Trimble and Kristen Suagee-Beauduy

Four mornings before a young girl named Shi-Shi Etko is to leave her family and go away to residential school, she is reminded of all the things she must not forget. Songs, dances, family, laughter, joy, and especially the land. Shi-Shi Etko tries to memorize all the stones and plants and waters and the feeling of being near them. She is given a small pouch in which to contain these memories, like a sprig of a fir tree or a dried berry. She prays that she remembers each and every part of her life at home until she returns in the spring.

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MTYT: When I Was Eight

By Celeste Trimble and Kristen Suagee-Beauduy

When I Was Eight by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton (Inuvialuit) tells the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton’s experiences at an Indian Residential School in Aklavik, in what is now known as Canada. Olemaun’s parents do not want her to attend the school away from her home of Banks Island, but Olemaun longs to learn to read like her older sister. When she convinces her parents and begins attending the school, the nuns try to humiliate and shame her in many ways. Margaret-Olemaun was determined to learn to read and prove to the nuns that she was a strong and capable student, and she did.

This picturebook was written with middle to upper elementary students in mind. Margaret-Ouleman’s story was also told in the book for younger readers, Not My Girl, and the books for middle level readers, Fatty Legs and A Stranger at Home.

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MTYT: When We Were Alone

By Celeste Trimble and Kristen Suagee-Beauduy

My Take Your Take Header lists theme of Picturebooks about Indigenous Residential Schools in Canada and the authors.

For the month of August Kristen Suagee-Beauduy and Celeste Trimble take a closer look at the youngest picturebooks about Indigenous residential schooling in Canada. When We Were Alone, written by David A. Robertson (Swampy Cree) and illustrated by Julie Flett (Cree-Metis), tells the story of a contemporary conversation between a First Nations grandmother and her granddaughter. The grandchild asks questions such as: “Why do you wear bright colors?” “Why do you wear your hair long?” “Why do you speak in Cree?”

Banner lists bibligoraphic information about the book that is also listed at the end of the post. Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Sweet Pea Summer


Sweet Pea Summer is the perfect book to enjoy reading aloud during the summer. A young English girl tells the story of a summer when her Mom had to go to the hospital, and her Dad takes her to be with her grandparents in a country village. Of course, the girl misses her parents and has trouble concentrating on her reading, or her art because she is worried about her mother. Then Grandpa suggests that she help him in his large garden full of flowers and vegetables. Grandpa gives her the job of taking care of his prized sweet peas. She also has the opportunity to enter the sweet peas in the village flower show at the end of the summer. Continue reading

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MTYT: From My Window

Maria V. Acevedo-Aquiño, University of Texas A&M, San Antonio, Desiree W. Cueto, Western Washington University, and Dorea Kleker, University of Arizona

For the final week of July, Desiree and Dorea give their takes on From My Window, a picturebook which shares a name with a previous book discussed this month.

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Taking Action to Solve a STEM-related Problem

By Susan Corapi, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL

As a teacher, professor, parent and grandparent, I want children, teens and adults to develop a sense of agency–the belief that they can take actions that will impact their world. So this week we are going to look at global stories of people taking action to solve a STEM-related problem. Continue reading

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Science and Math Books That Are Too Good to Miss!

By Susan Corapi, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL

When I write the WOW Currents blog posts, I try to have a unifying theme for each week, but this week “bamboozled” me! The best I could come up with is “Science and Math Books That Are Too Good to Miss!” So below is a collection of outstanding books that are more than just information–they teach math and science by absorbing facts through narrative-style text and vivid illustrations. These books are great for repeated exploration! Continue reading

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MTYT: From My Window: Children at Home During COVID-19

Maria V. Acevedo-Aquiño, University of Texas A&M, San Antonio, Desiree W. Cueto, Western Washington University, and Dorea Kleker, University of Arizona

Continuing their discussion of “windows” in recent picturebooks, Dorea and Maria give their takes on From My Window: Children at Home During COVID-19.

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Environmental Sciences

By Susan Corapi, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL

This last month has been marked by new heat records, blamed on climate change. Environmentalists prod us individually and collectively to take action to reverse this change. We are encouraged to use our vehicles less so we emit less CO2 gases. We reduce, reuse, and recycle. Some communities put restrictions on grocery stores using plastic bags in an effort to reduce plastics in landfills. And we can now purchase products that assure us they were made with a high percentage of recycled materials. In fact we can walk on boardwalks at national parks made of recycled bottles and sit on benches made of recycled plastic bags. We can purchase decor made from repurposed objects and mulch our gardens with recycled rubber tires. All of these actions relate to a sustainable use of resources–in other words, how can we use the precious natural resources we have in ways that reduce the “footprint” we leave behind and conserve resources for the future?

Stopping and reversing global-scale damage starts with awareness and the belief that change is possible. This week I want to profile books that raise that awareness or describe actions–both small and large–that people of all ages have taken in order to preserve our natural resources. Continue reading