WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Cane Warriors

Cover art for Cane Warriors features a blue and black photograph of a young Black boy with an ink drawing of Tacky's Rebellion in the background.Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle follows a fictional character in the true story of Tacky’s War in Jamaica in 1760. In this book, 14-year-old Moa works the Frontier sugarcane plantation for endless hot days and endures the lash of white enslavers. Recruited to participate in an uprising, led by the charismatic Tacky, Moa is terrified but resolved. He agrees to be a cane warrior and fight for the freedom of all the enslaved people in nearby plantations.

Never look forward to war. It’ll come to we when it’s ready and when it come it never pretty.” (p. 117) Continue reading

Imagination Friday with Michael Rex

Join us for some fantastic fun as We’re Going on a Goon Hunt with Michael Rex! A goon hunt is no easy task. A twisted tangled pumpkin patch, murky bubbling swamp and foggy crumbling graveyard are just a few of the obstacles these kids will have to go through, skulking monsters included. When the Goon finally makes an appearance–under the covers they go! Except one brave child who finds monsters more fun than scary. This event will have time for a Q&A and an activity for children of all ages.

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


Host: Rebecca Ballenger, Associate Director of WOW
Panelists: Michael Rex
Co-Sponsor: Tucson Festival of Books


Michael Rex is the creator of over thirty books for children, including the number one bestseller Goodnight Goon and the Fangbone! series. He also illustrated With Any Luck, I’ll Drive a Truck by David Friend. He was inspired to create Icky Ricky by his two boys, Declan and Gavin, who are fine young citizens, but very disgusting. Gavin eats ketchup on cake, and Declan uses a marker to color his belly button. Along with the boys, Michael lives with his wife and their dog, Roxy, in Leonia, New Jersey. His wife and the dog are not disgusting at all. Visit him at www.michaelrex.blogspot.com. You won’t get dirty.

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

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Resources Around Epidemics and Pandemics

Cholera warning posters by seventh gradersMany readers are looking for virtual escape as movement is restricted due to the spread of COVID-19. Schools nation-wide are closed, but they will soon open either on line or face-to-face and teachers will be keen to help young people make sense of current events. The Executive Board of Worlds of Words came together to determine how we might assist in the effort to find quality literature for young people around epidemics and pandemics.

This post includes a booklist of recently published fiction and non-fiction books as well as links to previously published WOW Currents posts with this focus. We’d love to hear from you too! Provide your comments and recommendations of books and other resources below. Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month
WOW News

Worlds of Words Exhibit Shows Visual Narratives Are Neither “Silent” Nor “Wordless”

Worlds of Words in the University of Arizona College of Education launches “Visual Narratives: Connecting Across Languages and Cultures”, an exhibit of global picturebooks that tell stories primarily through visual images. The exhibit is inspired by the “Silent Books, from the World to Lampedusa and Back,” a traveling exhibit of global books from the International Board on Books for Young People. The exhibit is on display now through December 2019 with an open reception from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on July 25.

Groups of children read visual narratives in WOW's studio

Second and third graders from UofA’s Fusion Camp engage with books from around the world that are part of the “Silent Books” exhibit from the International Board on Books for Young People, now on display in Worlds of Words as part of their Visual Narratives exhibit.

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Italicizing Non-English Words: The Case of Spanish in Picturebooks

By María V. Acevedo, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
With Rebecca Ballenger, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

I read out loud All Around Us, by Xelena Gonzalez, illustrated by Adriana García, to a class of undergraduate students. When I read, “We eat what we’ve grown-crunchy lettuce, sweet carrots and spicy chiles,” one of my students said, “I love your Spanish accent.” Chiles is the only Spanish word in this picturebook and it is not italicized. The student’s comment made me think of picturebooks that highlight non-English words in one way or another and the implications of this practice to fictional characters and readers.

Cover art for La Princesa and the Pea shows a girl with a crown of flowers sitting atop multiple mismatched mattresses and a surly cat perched on the bed's footboard Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: The Casket of Time

Cover for The Casket of Time by Andri Snær Magnason Saving time, wasting time, no time to lose. American English is full of collocated terms about time, emphasizing a value of events happening “on time” and not appreciating things happening “in time.” Perhaps we share this trait with Icelanders.

Andri Snær Magnason describes his book, The Casket of Time (trans. by Björg Arnadóttir and Andrew Cauthery), as a Sci-Fi/Fairytale hybrid. He uses social realism to critique our response to the world’s problems. Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Cover for Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg MedinaMerci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina, recalls the the middle grade experience of no longer being a child but not yet being an adult. This is the confusing age when responsibilities increase though little explanation is given as to why. The age when young people begin to question authority and long for independence, but still look for approval and acceptance. Medina captures all this in this 2019 Newbery Medal winning book. Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and BoneLet’s talk about Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, a YA fantasy that opens with a lynching and ends with an author’s note urging readers to rise. In between is nothing but action, emotional turmoil and rarely a chance to breathe. Emphasizing this occurrence, Adeyemi repeatedly echoes Eric Garner’s words, “I can’t breathe.” Continue reading

WOW News

Globalizing the Common Core State Standards Exemplar List

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and their variations influence K-12 curriculum, particularly in the teaching of literacy, across the U.S. and internationally. With funds from the Center for Educational Resources in Culture Language and Literacy (CERCLL), Worlds of Words (WOW) in the University of Arizona College of Education offers an alternative to the CCSS text exemplar list to assist educators searching for ways to globalize their classrooms and libraries.

Globalizing the Common Core State Standards, Odyssey Graphic Novel

Tucson High Magnet School senior, Parrish Ballenger, reads the graphic novelization of The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds based on Homer’s epic poem. Worlds of Words pairs this book with the CCSS exemplar The Odyssey by Homer, along with Here Lies Arthur by Phillip Reeve, Sita’s Ramayana by Samhita Ami and Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis.

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