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Supporting Children’s Rights to Read

By Deanna Day, Washington State University, and Barbara A. Ward, University of New Orleans

A trans girl peers through the letter A in the name MelissaAs books in libraries and parts of school curriculum suddenly become hot button topics, it seems important to address censorship and book banning. The next four columns of WOW Currents will seek to make sense of this complicated, increasingly controversial issue. The first week we will discuss supporting children’s rights to read and intellectual freedom. The following week we will advocate for selecting books carefully versus banning or “stealth censorship.” In the third week’s column we will share suggestions and ideas for teachers in supporting the rights of youngsters to read. The fourth week we conclude our exploration of this important literacy issue by looking at how some communities have begun pushing back against the current waves of book challenges and banning. Continue reading

WOW Dozen: Books Featuring Trans* and Trans*-accepting Characters

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM, and Efrain Alvarez Morales, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

October is LGBT History Month. Established in 1994, Rodney Wilson, selected the tenth month of the year because National Coming Out Day is celebrated on October 11 and the first national march for gay and lesbian rights took place in Washington, DC on October 14, 1979. In conjunction with LGBT History Month, this dozen features picturebooks and novels with trans* and trans*- accepting characters. Unlike stories with trans* characters published in the past, the plot lines in these stories reflect a shift from shaming, resistance, violence and tragic endings to affirming, understanding, compassion and positive endings. Trans* and trans*- accepting characters experience seemingly typical life challenges connected to friendship, belonging and discovering one’s identity. Additionally, in several novels the characters encounter challenges that might seem atypical like interacting with a brujo or the ghost of a deceased uncle, or hunting a monster alongside a creature that emerged from a painting. Ultimately, readers will find the characters, setting and plot lines of each story to be engaging, exciting and believable. Continue reading