Imagination Friday with Philip and Erin Stead

Meet Erin and Phil Stead as they introduce a new picturebook about a beloved zookeeper in Amos McGee Misses the Bus. We first met Amos McGee in A Sick Day for Amos McGee, a Caldecott Medal book, and in the new book, Amos faces all kinds of problems when he plans an outing for his zoo animals.

Erin and Phil will share their new book and process of writing and illustrating, invite children to create their own stories, and answer questions.

You must register for the webinar to attend. You will receive a link to join this exciting interaction with Erin and Phil. Teachers who want to show the webinar live to their classes can live-stream the webinar. The webinar will be recorded. Those who register will receive a link to watch the recording if unable to join us live. You can also return to this event entry to watch the recording.


Register now!


(If you have trouble with the chat, click on the three dots in the upper right corner of the chat box and try to sign on using the pop-up screen.)

Host: Kathy Short, Professor of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies and Director of WOW
Panelists: Philip and Erin Stead
Co-Sponsor: Tucson Festival of Books


Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead are the creators of picturebook classics such as A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Bear Has a Story to Tell, Music For Mister Moon, and Lenny and Lucy. They live in Michigan with their daughter and puppy.

Copies of the books featured on Imagination Fridays can be ordered from UArizona BookStores.

Imagination Fridays is co-sponsored by the Tucson Festival of Books and Worlds of Words/University of Arizona and will occur one Friday a month at 1:00-1:45 pm from September to December with a new author and/or illustrator to introduce a brand new book. Add excitement to Fridays with world-renowned children’s authors and illustrator to promote new books and encourage children as readers, writers, and illustrators.

Tucson Festival of Books logo with sponsors listed

Imagination Friday with Kate DiCamillo and Sophie Blackall

Meet Kate DiCamillo and Sophie Blackall as they introduce their highly anticipated new graphic novel, The Beatryce Prophecy, a fantasy about fate, love, and the power of words. Set in a time of war, Beatryce lives in a world where reading and writing are against the law, leading her on a dangerous quest to unseat the king and change that world.

Kate and Sophie share their new book and process of writing and illustrating, invite children to create their own stories, and answer questions.

You must register for the webinar to attend. You will receive a link to join this exciting interaction with Kate and Sophie. Teachers who want to show the webinar live to their classes can live-stream the webinar. The webinar will be recorded. Those who register will receive a link to watch the recording if unable to join us live. You can also return to this event entry to watch the recording.


Register Now!


(If you have trouble with the chat, click on the three dots in the upper right corner of the chat box and try to sign on using the pop-up screen.)

Host: Kathy Short, Professor of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies and Director of WOW
Panelists: Kate DiCamillo and Sophie Blackall
Co-Sponsor: Tucson Festival of Books


Kate DiCamillo is one of America’s most revered storytellers. She is a former Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and a two-time Newbery Medalist for The Tale of Desperaux and Flora & Ulysses. Born in Philadelphia, she grew up in Florida and now lives in Minneapolis.

Copies of the books featured on Imagination Fridays can be ordered from UArizona BookStores.

Sophie Blackall is the acclaimed illustrator of more than forty-five books for young readers and a two-time Caldecott Medalist for Finding Winnie and Hello Lighthouse. Born and raised in Australia, she now lives in Brooklyn.

Imagination Fridays is co-sponsored by the Tucson Festival of Books and Worlds of Words/University of Arizona and will occur one Friday a month at 1:00-1:45 pm from September to December with a new author and/or illustrator to introduce a brand new book. Add excitement to Fridays with world-renowned children’s authors and illustrator to promote new books and encourage children as readers, writers, and illustrators.

Tucson Festival of Books logo with sponsors listed

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Beatryce Prophecy


In this review Kathy Short and Marilyn Carpenter share their responses to The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo with illustrations by Sophie Blackall.

MARILYN: As soon as I finished this book, I eagerly read it again. With the first reading, I found the plot most engaging. On the second reading, I admired the author’s craft. The story takes place in the Middle Ages during a time of war. Five characters carry the story. First, the reader meets a monk, Brother Edik, who has written a prophecy about a girl who will unseat a king. Next, we are introduced to a cranky and fearsome goat, Answelica, who has a major role in the story as a protector of Beatryce, a young girl that Brother Edik finds ill, wounded and bloody curled up next to that goat, fast asleep. It turns out that the child has experienced a horrific trauma that has left her without any memory except that her name is Beatryce. As Brother Edik comes to know her he discovers that she can read and write which is dangerous because there is a law that says that no girls or women can read or write. Brother Edik shaves her head and disguises her as a young monk. Continue reading

Imagination Friday with Raúl the Third

Meet Raúl the Third and hear about his newest ¡Vamos! book. ¡Vamos! Let’s Cross the Bridge is a joyful story about coming together and celebrating community. Traffic has come to a stop on a bridge and Little Lobo and his dog Bernabé are tired of waiting in their truck–until they have the idea of holding an epic party!

Raúl the Third introduces his new book and process of writing and illustrating, invite children to create their own stories and answer questions.


Host: Kathy Short, Professor of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies and Director of WOW
Panelists: Raúl the Third
Co-Sponsor: Tucson Festival of Books


Raúl the Third is an award-winning illustrator and the author/illustrator of ¡Vamos! Let’s Go To Market and ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat. He is also the illustrator for the Lowriders series by Cathy Camper and is working on a YA graphic novel with David Bowles. He grew up between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, México, and now lives in Boston.

Copies of the books featured on Imagination Fridays can be ordered from UArizona BookStores.

Imagination Fridays is co-sponsored by the Tucson Festival of Books and Worlds of Words/University of Arizona and will occur one Friday a month at 1:00-1:45 pm from September to December with a new author and/or illustrator to introduce a brand new book. Add excitement to Fridays with world-renowned children’s authors and illustrator to promote new books and encourage children as readers, writers, and illustrators.

Tucson Festival of Books logo with sponsors listed

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In Honor of Vivian Yenika-Agbaw

Vivian wearing a pearled top and a vivid pink headwrap. She's smiling.Our field lost a scholar of children’s literature, and we lost a treasured friend and colleague when Vivian Yenika-Agbaw passed away on September 20, 2021. Vivian was a professor of children’s and adolescent literature at Penn State University where she taught in both the residential and World campus programs. She grew up in Cameroon and remained connected both professionally and personally to these roots as she gathered supplies and resources for teachers in that country and wrote about West African and African Diaspora literature for young people through the critical lens of postcolonialism. She was concerned about issues of power and colonialism, not only in books from and about countries in Africa, but in other regions around the world whose literatures are seldom the focus of scholarship. Her research on representations of Africa in children’s books provided both historical and current critical analyses of trends and issues. Continue reading

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Digging Deeper into Migration Stories through MultiModal Text Sets

By Carol Brochin, Leah Durán, and Kathy G. Short, University of Arizona

This past summer, faculty in the College of Education at the University of Arizona virtually hosted a seminar for K-12 teachers sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Drawing teachers from across the U.S., we looked at the histories and movements of people in what is now Arizona and considered ways to invite students of all ages into our inquiries. Our institute, We the People: Migrant Waves in the Making of America, challenged the perception that migration is a recent negative phenomenon. This two-week virtual institute explored the continuous waves of migration in the U.S. through a case study of Arizona, the last continental state added to the union. We were particularly concerned with the stories often left out of traditional narratives of U.S. history, which are traditionally rooted in the thirteen colonies and so erase the experiences of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other communities of color. Through interactions with narratives, authors, scholars and museums, our goal was for educators to gain knowledge and strategies to support their teaching by using inquiry strategies from the case study to research migrant waves in their own states.

NEH logo includes US seal with eagle, olive branch and arrows Continue reading

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2021 Global Literature Trends: Books about Activism and Conservation

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

Coer of Rise Up! The Art of Protest depicting a black fist holding a blue paintrbush and an orange paintbrush in front of a red background.
In a time of political division and global uncertainty, despair can be offset by hope through taking action to make a change; a perspective found in global books on activism and conservation. Instead of ignoring global issues or waiting for adults to take action, these books portray the commitment and actions of young people who act to make a difference. These themes go across nonfiction and fiction as well as across ages, providing young people with examples of real people who work for change and with story worlds in which characters act for a cause that matters to them. Continue reading

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2021 Global Literature: Refugee and Immigrant Experiences in Children’s and YA Literature

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

The cover of In Search of Safety, depicting a black woman staring contemplatively to the right while sitting in a brown room.
The experiences of refugees dominate the national news, most recently images of Central American asylum seekers at the Mexico/U.S. border and refugees from Afghanistan trying to board planes and attempting border crossings into Pakistan. These experiences also dominate children’s and young adult books, especially in the last ten years with many books about Syrian refugees and refugees from Mexico and Central America. The experiences of immigrant families and children are also increasingly depicted in literature, but instead of focusing on trauma, these books focus on children who navigate multiple cultural identities and locations. Continue reading

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2021 Trends in Global Literature for Children and Adolescents

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

Boy wearing headphones looks out a window at European-style houses that cast a shadow of Middle Eastern buildings on the wall behind him..This month, WOW Currents highlights the trends in global books published in the U.S. between Summer 2020 and 2021. The list was created by exploring new books and reading reviews to create an update of the K-12 global reading lists, fiction and nonfiction, to post on the Worlds of Words Center website. This update also provides an opportunity to identify trends and patterns across this annual collection of global books. This post overviews these trends and the weekly blogs over the month of September will examine one trend in more depth with examples of books. Continue reading

Imagination Friday with Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal

woman holding a baby in left hand and bowl of fry bread in another.Meet Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal to hear about their award-winning picturebook, Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story. Kevin and Juana will share the process of writing and illustrating their picturebook, invite children to create their own family stories and answer questions.

Imagination Fridays participants can order signed copies of the books featured at https://shop.uabookstore.arizona.edu/main/wildcats/TFOB/Children.


Host: Kathy Short, Professor of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies and Director of WOW
Panelists: Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal
Co-Sponsor: Tucson Festival of Books


portrait picture of Kevin in black shirtKevin Noble Maillard is the author of Fry Bread and a regular writer and former contributing editor to The New York Times. Currently based in Manhattan, he splits time between the city and upstate New York, where he is a tenured professor of law at Syracuse University. Originally from Oklahoma, he is an enrolled citizen of the Seminole Nation.

smiling portrait picture of JuanaJuana Martinez-Neal is an illustrator of books for children, including the award-winning La Princesa and the Pea, Alma and How She Got Her Name and Fry Bread. Juana was born in Lima, Peru, where she grew up surrounded by amazing meals prepared by her mom and amazing paintings made by her dad and granddad. She now lives, eats and paints in Scottsdale, surrounded by her amazing children.

Imagination Friday is co-sponsored by the Tucson Festival of Books and Worlds of Words, University of Arizona College of Education and occurs Fridays from 1 to 1:40 p.m. through December 2020 with a different author or illustrator each week. Add some excitement to Fridays with world-renowned children’s authors and illustrator to promote new books and encourage children as readers, writers and illustrators.

Tucson Festival of Books logo with sponsors listed