By Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM and Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District, Tucson, AZ
This COVID-19 post-pandemic era has been difficult for many of us. In the school district I (Junko Sakoi) am working for, stories have played a significant role in social emotional support for children and teens. Stories have eased their anxiety, stress, fear, and trauma, and helped them find a way to cope with the difficulties. This collection includes PreK–12 titles that portray young characters’ social and emotional struggles. These books could help children build resilience through self-discovery and growth as they cultivate empathetic connections and caring perspectives in relationships. Continue reading
by Susan Corapi, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL and Annette Y. Goldsmith, Kent State University, Kent, OH
As storms become more frequent and violent, attention to the environment and global warming is increasing. Each title here has a distinct call to action that invites readers of all ages to “rethink, refuse, reduce, repair, reuse, recycle, and revolutionize” (Pêgo, 118-121). Some are biographies of everyday citizens who stood up for protecting our natural resources, others are examples of ingenuity, and several describe the ways animal and marine life can recover when given the space and time to adapt or regain habitats. What follows is a selection from an in-process paper about environmentally-focused books, fiction and nonfiction, discussed through the double lens of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Diverse BookFinder BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) descriptors. We included the original place of publication because we want to explore what other countries are saying about environmental issues. Continue reading
The Worlds of Words Center at the University of Arizona College of Education launched a new podcast called “WOW Reads” that centers the voices of teens and pre-teens around literature for young people. The podcast, which currently has four episodes of about 15 minutes each and a bonus episode, features WOW Center Reading Ambassadors discussing books after having met the authors of those books.
By Kathleen Crawford-McKinney, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
I have been thinking more intently on what it means to be responsible to others. What do we, citizens of the world, have the right to do, or be? Over the past several months we watched people being incarcerated for minor infractions or their cities and lands taken away from them. I wonder who has this type of right to act in these ways to others. Who is responsible for ensuring that these missteps don’t occur in places where people think differently than within our own communities? What would we do, or what should we do if our rights are stepped upon? Who is responsible for taking care of others?
Students in classrooms know their rights and question them within their families and school settings. I hope that they will also push themselves to be responsible to and with each other. To move beyond being kind to each other and to think more broadly about the world. In several of the previous months the themes of the Dozen has encouraged us to think more deeply about the current political world. This month continues with this focus by examining books where the characters look at being responsible to families, to communities, to our environment and to our world. Continue reading
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