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MTYT: El Cucuy is Scared Too

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

Our theme for this month includes discussions around picturebooks that depict anxiety and stress in and around our world. Recently with COVID-19 and the push against immigration, this has become a more pressing concern with children being isolated within the parameters of their, forever colliding, physical and psychological worlds.

Further, lack of literacy is an historic and immediate concern for children around the world, especially girls. This is based on the concept that if you control knowledge you control the people, as women are the ones who, essentially, hold future generations in arms, thus, controlling them controls the future. In the present situation where we belong to a global society and knowledge is circulated through devices in the palm of our hands, keeping knowledge away from people in far flung areas is challenging. This has allowed people all over to wake up and try to take their lives and education in their hands. Girls are pushing back to speak truth to power, and this creates anxiety and stress in their lives. The issues presented in these books significantly address anxiety and stress in children. Children’s books are a strong avenue to frame and present issues and then subtly suggest ways to combat them.

We will be exploring in further detail four books that represent this issue:

  • El Cucuy is Scared Too by Donna Barbara Higuera
  • The Secret Kingdom by Rosenstock
  • One Girl by Andrea Beaty
  • Malala’s Magic Pencil by Mala Yousafzai

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