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MTYT: Outside, Inside

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

This month we consider the theme of “windows” as we discuss four recently published books, all with global connections. Windows provide distinct vantage points from which to consider our communities—people, spaces, relationships—and our place among them. While two of these books are centered specifically on the pandemic, we didn’t intend for this to be our focus. However, as we responded, it became clear that we couldn’t ignore the impacts the last year has had on our lives, our communities, the questions we wanted to ask one another and our visions for what comes next.

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Scientists and Mathematicians in Children’s Literature

By Susan Corapi, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL


The last fifteen months have been filled with science and math as we have followed the spread of a new virus and disease that rapidly shifted from localized outbreaks to a pandemic. We watched the race to develop mRNA and viral vector vaccines that were effective in protecting against COVID-19. We have been inundated with scientific diagrams, statistics, infection rates, and percentages of people vaccinated in different parts of the world–in other words, we have been immersed in principles of science and math. So, it seemed fitting to focus WOW Currents in July on global and multicultural books that engage with STEM subjects–science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The titles this week portray scientists and mathematicians from around the world who have contributed to our understanding of their fields. Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Firekeeper’s Daughter

Jacket art for Firekeeper's Daughter depicts two young Ojibwe women nose to nose in profile. Their skin tones vary slightly. Their profiles form the interior outline of a butterfly whose tail extends long enough to wrap around the title. The author describes the feeling of the art as purely 'Nish or Anishinaabek.Angeline Boulley’s debut novel, Firekeeper’s Daughter, is a contemporary YA thriller about an Ojibwe teen living in the Great Lakes area who struggles to balance her identity, honor her community and pursue justice. Just out of high school, Daunis Fontaine halts her plans to go away for college and instead stay home to care for loved ones. Jamie, an intriguing new guy in town with a mysterious scar, captures her attention before pulling her into an FBI investigation. From here, Daunis experiences trauma to top an already challenging existence. This includes drugs, murder, rape, kidnapping and betrayal. Continue reading

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WOW Stories Indexed by Directory of Open Access Journals

By Rebecca Ballenger, Associate Director, Worlds of Words

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) now indexes WOW Stories: Connections from the Classroom, a free, open access, on-line, academic publication of Worlds of Words: Center of Global Literacies and Literatures in the University of Arizona College of Education. WOW Stories contains blind, peer-reviewed vignettes written by educators about children’s experiences reading and responding to literature, the content of which will increase in reach as aggregators, databases, libraries and other publishers access the entry in DOAJ.

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Reaction to Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam from a Criminologist’s Point of View

By Genisis Luevanos, Taylor Hogan, Saundra D. Trujillo, and Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico

The fourth and final installment of WOW Currents for June features Genisis and Taylor’s reactions Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam. Both women are students majoring in Criminal Justice at NMSU and read the novel as part of their study of criminology theories in Saundra’s Race, Crime and Justice course.

In their reactions, both women convey strong emotional connections to Amal and the circumstances he endures throughout the novel. Genisis questions the idea of hope and reflects on the authors’ writing that humanizes incarcerated persons. Taylor reacts to the scene where Amal realizes that the color of his skin affected how he was perceived in the courtroom. Saundra and Mary reflect on the experience of applying criminology theories to young adult literature in a criminal justice course to close out the final post for June. Continue reading

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MTYT: Malala’s Magic Pencil

Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, and Deanna Day-Wiff, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

This week Seemi and Deanna discuss Malala’s Magic Pencil and her story of seeking education despite the dangers of doing os.

This is another story about the life of the Malala Yousafzai who stands for education for girls in struggling regions that belong to the ‘third’ world nations such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. She was shot by Taliban for what she stood for. This is her own story told by herself.

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Reaction to Juvie by Steve Watkins from a Criminologist’s Point of View

By McKensi Spears, Saundra D. Trujillo, and Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Cover of Juvie depicting empty cells on three levels, with the bottom level holding a young woman in an orange prison jumpsuit replacing the I in Juvie.

The third WOW Currents post in June features McKensi Spears’ reaction to Juvie by Steve Watkins. McKensi, a criminal justice major at NMSU, briefly discusses Labeling Theory and then applies the theory to the novel. McKensi primarily addresses the changes in the behavior of Sadie, the main character, that seem to emerge as labels are placed upon her before and during her time in the juvenile justice system.

Saundra and Mary close out the post with their reflections about the novel and about Labeling Theory. In her reflection, Saundra cleverly connects the labels found in the novel to labels found in songs recorded by Eminem and Billie Eilish. Mary reflects on how Watkins’ personal experiences as a Court Appointed Special Advocate might have influenced the plot of the novel and the idea that discussions about Labeling Theory might facilitate readers’ deeper comprehension of the novel. Continue reading

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MTYT: One Girl

Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, and Deanna Day-Wiff, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

This week Seemi and Deanna give their takes on “One Girl” by Andrea Beaty and Dow Phumiruk.

This is a beautifully written and illustrated story of girls and education. The world is opened by giving a girl a book. As she grows and learns she gets more confident in the world that surrounds her.

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Reaction to Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds from a Criminologist’s Point of View

By Trevor Brohard, Saundra D. Trujillo, and Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Using YA literature in the Criminal Justice field is a relatively new approach to exploring criminology theories. Saundra, a Criminology/Criminal Justice professor, and Mary, a Language, Literacy and Culture professor, implemented YA literature into Saundra’s Criminal Justice graduate course, Race, Crime and Justice, to learn if this unique approach could extend students’ thinking about various criminology theories as they applied the theories to YA literature.

This week’s WOW Currents features Trevor Brohard’s reaction to Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. Trevor uses a criminology/criminal justice lens to reflect on various criminology theories related to the intersections of race, ethnicity, crime, justice, cultural and structural contexts within the novel. Saundra and Mary reflect on Trevor’s reaction to close out this week’s post. Continue reading

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MTYT: The Secret Kingdom

Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, and Deanna Day-Wiff, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

This week Seemi and Deanna look at The Secret Kingdom by Barb Rosenstock and discuss the stress of immigration and holding onto pieces of home.

This story takes place in the year 1947 and thereafter in India at the point where Pakistan was carved out of India. Nek Chand, a resident of the region that became part of Pakistan has to move to India because of his religious identity, while leaving behind all that was familiar. He takes all the stories of his past life and self-claims a piece of land in India and creates a world which is tangible for him.

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