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Worlds of Words Center Launches First Crowdfund Effort to Bring Global Stories to Life

By Rebecca Ballenger, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

The Worlds of Words Center of Global Literacies and Literatures in the University of Arizona College of Education announces the launch of its first ever crowdfunding campaign on October 1. The campaign aims to raise $10,000 to fund a year of exhibits that will spark the imaginations of visitors to the center.

Young teens reading and discussing the books and posters on display.

Students from Paulo Freire Freedom School explore the exhibit, Around the World in 70 Maps.

“We are excited to launch our first crowdfunding campaign,” says UArizona Regents Professor and director of the WOW Center, Kathy Short. “This is a great opportunity to support our mission of sharing global stories. With help from the community, we can continue to provide enriching exhibits that inspire people of all ages.” Continue reading

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2023 Trends in Global Literature: Climate Change and the Environment

By Kathy G. Short, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

A young boy holds Earth in his hands.Global news reports are constantly documenting increasing temperatures, extreme weather, and natural disasters from around the world. The 2023 K-12 global recommended book lists indicate an increase in books on climate change, endangered animals, and conservation of the environment. The books are set in different parts of the world and depict both the problems and possible responses. Continue reading

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2023 Trends in Global Literature: Books Set in African Countries

By Kathy G. Short, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Three young African girls stand facing the viewing waering modern, fashionable clothing while a fourth girl is closer to the view, smiling as she wears more traditional clothing. One continuing trend in K-12 global literature in the U.S. is the dominance of books set in English-speaking countries, especially the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The more exciting trend is the diversification of global communities that challenge this dominance. Over the last several years, there has been an explosion of books set in India and other South Asian countries or featuring characters whose heritage is South Asian. In 2023, there were noticeably more books set in African countries or traditions, although West Africa, especially Nigeria and Ghana, dominate. As with the South Asian books, the majority are written by authors whose heritage is Nigerian or Ghanian and who currently live in the U.S. or the U.K. Continue reading

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2023 Trends in Global Youth Literature

by Kathy G. Short, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

A young boy lays in his grandmother's lap, her blue sari covering him. A cat sleeps on the end of the sari.The trends in global literature published and/or distributed in the U.S. between Summer 2022 and Summer 2023 are the focus of this month’s WOW Currents. These trends were identified by examining new books published during this time period and consulting book reviews to search for books of most interest to K-12 educators. This column provides an overview of the trends from these recent books; two additional blogs this month take on one of these trends in more depth. Continue reading

Forbidden Stories: The Best of the Best in Banned Books

This event has occurred in the past.

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Book challenges in the U.S. doubled in 2022, a troubling statistic given the significance of books in telling the stories of diverse youth. In this workshop, we share our lists of “the best of the best” challenged YA and children’s books and provide resources for responding to these challenges.

Aida Salazar, author of The Moon Within and co-editor of Calling the Moon: 16 Period Stories by BIPOC Authors, will join us for a virtual talk. Registrants will receive a free copy of The Moon Within and afterward there will be a YA/Children’s book giveaway.

This event includes the following Presentations:
The Best Banned YA Books by BIPOC Authors, Presented by Sybil Durand
The Best Banned Children’s Books on Gender and Sexuality, Presented by Desirée Cueto
The Best International Books that Challenge Book Banning in the U.S., Presented by Kathy Short
Aida Salazar On Writing Forbidden Stories (Live Virtual Visit)

Paid parking is available at the Second Street Garage just west of the UArizona College of Education and in the parking lot north of First and Vine. The WOW Center is also located just off of the 2nd St. Streetcar stop, which is free.

To request disability-related accommodations that would ensure your full participation in this event, please email or call 520.621.9340.

Event details may change.

WOW Dozen: A Dozen Ukrainian Books

By Kathy G. Short, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ and Kathleen Crawford-McKinney, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

Although we are constantly bombarded with images of the war in Ukraine, many people know little about this country, its culture, or its long history of conflict with Russia/Soviet Union. This set of books reflects a range of perspectives on Ukrainian culture and history, many authored and illustrated by Ukrainians or people with Ukrainian heritage. The stories involve significant historical events, such as Stalin’s mass starvation of Ukrainian people in 1932, the Nazi occupation in 1941-1943, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, and the 2022 siege of Mariupol by Russian forces. Pairing these books with recent news articles connects this history to current events. The strength of Ukrainian people, especially the Jewish population, in the midst of suffering is thus a frequent theme, but the set does include several humorous folktales. Continue reading

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2022 Trends in Global Literature: Multilingualism and Language Learning

By Kathy Short, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

A grandmoter in a sari and a girl in pigtails happily embraceThe increasing global mobility and multilingualism of our world are playing out in interesting ways in recent books for children. Some of these books focus on children learning to speak English or on English-speakers struggling to pronounce a child’s name. Still others naturally integrate multiple languages in a translingual book where characters weave additional languages into their dialogue, drawing from the multiple languages they speak and understand. Another trend is an increase in bilingual books with the entire text in two languages. Continue reading

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2022 Trends in Global Literature: Picturebooks about Relationships with Grandparents

By Kathy G. Short, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

An open yellow suitcase next to the legs of a young girlThe lack of books depicting contemporary global cultures has been an issue for many years with historical fiction, traditional literature and fantasy dominating the global books published in the U.S. This over-representation of history and traditions often results in stereotypes and misconceptions of these cultures as set back in time or no longer existing in the contemporary world. The recent emergence of picturebooks with contemporary depictions is thus a positive trend in providing books that invite children to make connections between their own culture and global cultures in today’s world. Continue reading

Authors' Corner

Authors’ Corner: Wilson Ong

By Kathy G. Short, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

wilson ong wears glasses and a flannel shirtMary J. Wong recently donated the entire set of original oil illustrations for Paper Son: Lee’s Journey to America by Wilson Ong to the Worlds of Words Center along with his thumbnail sketches and color studies. In working on the exhibition, we wanted to include Wilson’s perspective and process in creating the illustrations and so interviewed him, gaining many useful insights into his process and the connection of the book to his family story. Continue reading

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Trends in Global Literature for Children and Adolescents

By Kathy G. Short, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Young boy shows his mutli-colored fingernails.WOW Currents for this month highlights the trends in global books published and/or distributed in the U.S. between Summer 2021 and 2022. Each year, we examine the new books published in that period of time and check out review sources and awards to identify books we believe will be of most interest to K-12 educators for use in their contexts. This process allows us to update the K-12 global reading lists, fiction and nonfiction, to post on the Worlds of Words Center website. This immersion into the new books also helps identify publication trends and patterns over the past year. This post overviews these trends and the posts during the month of August examine one trend in more depth with examples of books. Continue reading