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Malala Activist for Girls’ Education and For the Right to Learn

By Seemi Aziz, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Most of the books mentioned in the first week of this series on books about Malala Yousafzai were submitted for book awards and considered distinctly above and beyond the run on the mill books that frame the Malala rhetoric by at least the publishers. Each story has the same narrative with various distinctions and have varied illustration distinctions. Malala story’s attraction is undeniable in all of the texts. Her being shot and surviving gives credence to the story as the girl who lived to use her incident to further her cause.

Cover art for Malala, Activist for Girls Education is an illustration of Malala in a bright pink scarf holding a bouquet of flowers and books Continue reading

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Malala Yousafzai In Books for Children

By Seemi Aziz, The University of Arizona, Tucson

I Am Malala cover depicting Malala in a red floral scarf against a teal backgroundSince Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani heroine who propagates education for women, hit the world stage there has been a huge spotlight on her life and activities globally, especially captured and projected in the arena of children’s books. Her near-death experience at the hands of the Taliban sets her story apart in more ways than one. Her dramatic entry into the global narrative reinforces concerns of women’s oppression and lack of education in Muslim countries and takes it to whole new level. Continue reading

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Forced Journeys in Children’s Literature, Part II

By Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona

Middle Eastern regions and Muslims have been unfailingly in the media and news. Children’s literature and Young Adult literature also tap into this trend and brings forward concerns faced by these regions, presently. Turmoil within the regions has become a predominant global concern since the refugee crises has brought the impact to Western shores, impacting their economy, balance of power, and in some cases, law and order. Most earlier books were written by people outside of the regions, thus, not true insiders to the cultures, raising concerns of authenticity. Commonly held trends as well as issues in literature about Muslims is that of migration, refugees, Muslim people at the center of strife and Muslim people as violent, blood thirsty terrorists. There is an issue when these assumptions, generalization, and stereotypes are taken as truths.

Forced Journey's in Children's Literature, Part II Continue reading

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Forced Journeys in Children’s Literature, Part I

By Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona

Comic books have been popular. Black and white comic strips have been present in newspapers. Cartoon comic strips have been popular due to being funny and also due to their political and social commentary. Presently, movies take the ideas and books and project them for a larger audience thus emphasizing their impact. Graphic novels are popular and have made a recent comeback and continue this narrative discourse that is highlighted in popular films and comic books.

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MTYT: Continuation through Adaptability and Change in Children’s Literature Epilogue

Intro:
For this final week we wrap up talking about continuation through adaptability and change in children’s literature. In the last few weeks, we talked about The Tree in the Courtyard, My Grandfather’s Coat, and Seven and a Half Tons of Steel. Here, Dorea Kleker and Seemi Aziz discuss how all three books tie into continuation in children’s literature.

Continuation in Children's Literature Continue reading

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MTYT: Seven and a Half Tons of Steel

This brief but powerful non-fiction text projects the journey of continuation onto a steel beam from the World Trade Center. The beam lives on, becoming an integral and enduring part of the warship USS New York in the aftermath of September 11. The Governor of New York donates the steel beam and it is driven to a Louisiana foundry where the USS New York is being constructed, and the beam becomes its bow. Ten years after 9/11, it makes its way back to New York on September 11, 2011.

Seven and a Half Tons of Steel Continue reading

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MTYT: My Grandfather’s Coat

Written by Jim Aylesworth and illustrated by Barbara McClintock, My Grandfather’s Coat is an adaptation of a Yiddish folk song that weaves a tale of immigration and continuation in a new land. This retelling is full of joy, with a rhythm and rhyme that excites readers young and old. The story follows a single coat as it transforms and changes shape over the years, becoming something brand new. The song is also present in Simms Taback’s Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (Viking, 1999) and Phoebe Gilman’s Something from Nothing (Scholastic, 1992) and is reimagined once more in this charming picture book.

My Grandfather's Coat Continue reading

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MTYT: The Tree in the Courtyard

My Take Your Take September
This month, Dorea Klecker and Seemi Aziz explore three picturebooks that feature the theme of continuation and the complex layers in which it may be interpreted, including adaptability and change. In the coming weeks, Dorea and Seemi will discuss My Grandfather’s Coat by Jim Aylesworth and Barbara McClintock and Seven and a Half Tons of Steel by Janet Nolan and Thomas Gonzalez. The conversation begins with The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window by Jeff Gottesfeld and Peter McCarty.

My Take Your Take on The Tree In the Courtyard Continue reading

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Global Poverty in Ada’s Violin and Malaika’s Costume

By Seemi Aziz, The University of Arizona

As I continue to look at representations of global poverty in picturebooks, resourcefulness remains a predominant theme. Two examples of characters who live in poverty and show resourcefulness come from the books Ada’s Violin, which has been a WOW Recommends: Book of the Month selection, and Malaika’s Costume.

Ada's Violin The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport Continue reading

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Resourcefulness and Poverty in Pablo Finds a Treasure

By Seemi Aziz, The University of Arizona

The lives of children in refugee camps and displaced people are no different from the protagonists in Pablo Finds a Treasure by Andree Poulin and Isabelle Malenfant. The book cover reflects this plight as the audience/reader is invited into the story by faces of two disheveled, scrawny children looking directly out. Pablo and his sister, Sophia, live in unnamed slums in Latin America. They sleep on the floor and look tired and bedraggled, as did Gie Gie in The Water Princess. They similarly have to wake up early and look for “treasure” by rummaging through the huge garbage dump close by. The treasure being anything of value they can find, which includes whatever is barely edible, one shoe, or a torn up book. They do this day in and day out while dreaming of a better life. They represent a myriad of individuals, mostly children.

Interior illustration from Pablo Finds a Treasure by Andree Poulin and Isabelle Malenfant.

Interior illustration from Pablo Finds a Treasure by Andree Poulin and Isabelle Malenfant.

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