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.
Berry Song by Michaela Goade is a celebration of the land, the indigenous people and animals that live on the “island at the edge of a wide, wild sea.” Goade grew up and lives in the Tongass National Forest which is the home of her Tlingit ancestors. The story takes place in that Forest. A young girl tells of how her Tlingit grandmother taught her to harvest what they needed from the salty ocean gathering herring eggs, seaweed and netting silvery salmon. “And in the forest… we pick berries. …The berries sing to us, glowing like little jewels. We sing too, so berry–and bear–know we are here.” As they sing they say the names of the multiple kinds of berries that they harvest. Their songs encompass the variety of ways the forest “sings to us, through misting rain and whoosh of wing, the sweet smell of cedar and the tickle of moss.” Continue reading
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