WOW Dozen: Books About Voting

By Charlene Klassen Endrizzi, Westminster College (retired), Rebecca Ballenger, Worlds of Words, University of Arizona, Tucson and Aika Adamson, Worlds of Words, University of Arizona, Tucson

Voters’ rights vary around the world, with some countries granting universal suffrage while others restrict voting based on criteria such as age, citizenship or criminal record. In the U.S., voters’ rights have been marked by obstacles like poll taxes, literacy tests and intimidation at the polls, which aimed to disenfranchise people based on race, economic status or gender. The books included in this WOW Dozen portray pivotal moments (historical and fictional) when communities fought for their voices to be heard in the democratic process. These narratives educate about past injustices and inspire young readers to become informed, engaged citizens who advocate for equality and fairness in voting rights. Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Okinawa

Cover of Okinawa, which has the title written vertically down the middle no an orange strip. The background is blue at the top and moves into green then yellow as it goes towards the bottom.Originally published in Japan, Susumu Higa’s historical fiction manga Okinawa brings to life the experiences of Okinawans during World War II and the post-war experiences of both younger and older generations. This book binds together two of Higa’s previously published works: Sword of Sand (1995) and Mabui (2010). These narratives are told through illustrations and dialogue, along with onomatopoeia to emphasize actions, in the format of manga. Telling these stories through manga, a Japanese-style of visual storytelling like comics or graphic novels, combines the unique experiences of Okinawan people with the popular Japanese style of storytelling, bringing international readers both the popular culture of the dominant mainland Japan and the voices of a smaller, lesser known community. The United States Board of Books for Young People (USBBY) named Okinawa one of the Outstanding International Books (OIB) of 2024. Continue reading