Decorative WOW News Header

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

Decorative WOW News Header

Arizona Is a Story

By Rebecca Ballenger, Associate Director, Worlds of Words Center

The rich and diverse stories of Arizona are on display in an original new exhibit of art, maps and books that showcase the history and perspectives of the state, highlighting this beautiful and complex place. For a limited time, the public can visit “Arizona Is a Story” at the Worlds of Words Center of Global Literacies and Literatures (WOW Center) in the UArizona College of Education.

Two people compare a book illustration to the final printed book

Rylan Pugliese (UArizona East Asian Studies graduate student) confers with Aika Adamson (WOW Staff) about the book, Confetti Poems.

Continue reading

Authors' Corner

Authors’ Corner: Judy I. Lin

By Rebecca Ballenger, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Photo by Aaron Perkins.

Judy I. Lin’s Duology of Tea is steeped in the terrain of the Taiwanese mountains, known for oolong teas. Lin, who was born in Taiwan and now lives in Canada, wanted to explore tea ceremonies around the world for a story brewing in her imagination. In that process, she came right back to the type of tea ceremony that she grew up with. Imagining the tea ceremony has magical properties for the sake of a young adult novel posed challenges.

“It’s not like blasting a fireball from your hands or any type of elemental magic where you can just directly influence the world around you, because it’s a quieter sort of magic. You have to be the one drinking it, or you have to make the other person drink it, or you have to have the ingredients available to you,” says Lin. You also must have all the specialized tools. That thought process inspired the magical competition that brings the protagonist, Ning, to the palace in A Magic Steeped In Poison, book one of the Duology of Tea. The result is an immersive young adult fantasy that transports readers to another time and place and reinforces the importance of relationships and trust in our lives. Continue reading

Decorative WOW News Header

WOW Center Launches Reading-Focused Podcast Centering Youth Voices

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.

WOW Reads podcast logo is the WOW logo of a globe in motion behind a stylized microphone Continue reading

Decorative WOW News Header

The Whole World on One Page: International Wimmelbooks

By Rebecca Ballenger, Associate Director, Worlds of Words Center

A thousand stories await discovery on every page of a wimmelbook: Where is the girl with the balloon going? And the dog with the bone? Why are those two boys wrestling? In 1968, Ali Mitgutsch created his first wimmelbook in Germany, Rundherum in meiner Stadt (All Around My Town), and since then these picturebooks have become a regular presence in many children’s libraries. For a limited time, Arizonans can take in The Whole World on One Page: International Wimmelbooks at the Worlds of Words Center of Global Literacies and Literatures (WOW) in the UArizona College of Education.

44 vibrant illustrations on the walls of a studio with books and activities set out in the center. Continue reading

Decorative WOW Currents Banner

Searching WOW Center Holdings In the UArizona Library Catalog

The recent release of Disney’s Little Mermaid theatrical trailer made a big splash, and we are here for it! In fact, let’s capitalize on that interest to explore a more global lens on mermaids. In case no one noticed, WOW Dozen recently published a list on Black mermaids and sirens in children’s literature by Desirée Cueto and Dorea Kleker. How about we search the WOW Center shelves to see if we can find additional global mermaid books that may also be of interest to young people inspired by Halle Bailey’s portrayal of Ariel? Continue reading

Decorative WOW News Header

Worlds of Words Center Presents – Paper Son: Lee’s Journey to America

By Rebecca Ballenger, Associate Director, Worlds of Words Center

Wilson Ong’s last name was Wong until the fourth grade when his father revealed he used a false name to immigrate to the U.S. as a “paper son.” His father’s story isn’t that different from Lee’s story in the picturebook illustrated by Wilson, Paper Son: Lee’s Journey to America. Each of Wilson’s original oil illustrations for this book were purchased by Mary J. Wong, also the child of a paper son, and donated to the Worlds of Words Center where they are now on exhibit.

room with oil paintings on the wall and books and educational supplies on the cabinet Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: The Last Cuentista

Sleeping girl in half light half dark surrounded by images including a spaceship and desert flora imagryHabía una vez there was a hard-working WOW Center Student Library Aide who was tasked with processing books. She did not identify as a reader, and so she could handle large numbers of books without temptation–until The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera caught her eye. Did her supervisor look the other way as this book trailed the student worker through her assigned duties at the front desk, while training new co-workers and as she prepped for her eventual departure upon graduation? Yes, I did. I did because I also read The Last Cuentista and know how transportive the story is. Continue reading

Decorative WOW News Header

Children Draw Themselves: Self-portraits from All Over the World In Times of Covid

As COVID-19 began its spread around the world, the International Youth Library (IYL) in Munich, Germany, invited children to portray themselves during this unusual time. The response was overwhelming. Over 800 self-portraits from 42 countries and every continent arrived at the IYL. Children aged 3 to 18 depict themselves grey and frightened or colorful and lively, sometimes with a face mask and sometimes without–mostly with big, alert eyes. A curated portion of these self-portraits make up the exhibit Children Draw Themselves: Self-Portraits from All Over the World In Times of Covid, now on display in Worlds of Words: Center of Global Literacies and Literatures (WOW) in the UArizona College of Education.

studio hung with children's self portraits during covid-19 quarantine and books on tables

The exhibit displayed in WOW, with portraits hanging on the wall and books on the tables.

Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Your Heart, My Sky

Book jacket depicts a young girl and boy with their heads together under a garden canopy of produce.
Liana, age 14, introduces life in Cuba during the summer of 1991 and el período especial en tiempos de paz, which seems to Liana to be a governmental euphemism for hunger. Risking punishment, she’s chosen not to attend mandatory “volunteer” farm labor. Amado, age 15, likewise stays home. Both spend their days wandering to avoid camp and find food. The Singing Dog, age unknown, brings Liana and Amado together to help them discover sources to quench their hunger, to alleviate their isolation and to pursue a peace. Continue reading