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Robots, Cyborgs, and DNA—Oh, My!

by T. Gail Pritchard, PhD, The University of Arizona

file000150798584My earliest memory of robots is from movies–Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) terrified me and Robby from Forbidden Planet (1956) fascinated me. Later, there was Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and three of my favorites Huey, Dewey, and Louie from Silent Running (1972); and of course, from recent times, Optimus Prime of the Transformers. From television, I met Robot from Lost in Space (1965-68) and various other robots and cyborgs in The Twilight Zone (1961-62), The Six Million Dollar Man (1974-78) and The Bionic Woman (1976-1978). In my reading, I encountered robots Robbie (Asimov) and Norby (Asimov and Asimov) and Eager (Fox), cyborg Cinder (Meyer), and characters whose DNA had been tweaked Continue reading

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A Different Kind of Bug: Epidemics Part 4

By T. Gail Pritchard, Ph.D., University of Arizona College of Medicine


In this last blog for the month, I want to share some books that deal with other kinds of epidemics, notably: bullying, obesity, substance abuse and suicide. These books are not pretty in nature, they do not necessarily have “happy” endings, and they are often connected to each other. They offer a glimpse into contemporary behaviors occurring in epidemic proportions among our youth. Continue reading

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Catching a Bug: Reading about Pandemics, Epidemics, and Outbreaks, Part 3

by T. Gail Pritchard, PhD, College of Medicine, University of Arizona


This week, the books presented cover the “what if?” scenario: What if a naturally occurring virus swept through the world killing most of its inhabitants? What if scientists engineered a virus and it got out of control? What if a virus killed all the adults? What if one country unleashed a deadly virus on another? What if an alien virus appeared? All of these scenarios have been the subject of young adult novels. Here are a few to add to your reading list: Continue reading

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Catching a Bug: Reading about Pandemics, Epidemics, and Outbreaks, Part 2

by T. Gail Pritchard, PhD, College of Medicine, University of Arizona

This week, the focus will be on specific pandemic, epidemic, and outbreak historical events captured in picture books and chapter books. Frischknect, Lepper, and Cyrklaff (2008) note, “infectious diseases have played a substantial part in shaping the history of humanity” (p. 995) and “it is often an issue of wrong information” (p. 996). Further, they state, “The dramatic effects of lacking information can be seen in many historical contexts, e.g. the spread of the Plague in medieval Europe, the accidental import of smallpox and measles into the Americas, the deliberate release of infectious agents, or the recent spread of HIV in much of Africa” (Frischknecht, p. 997). Continue reading

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Catching a Bug: Reading about Pandemics, Epidemics, and Outbreaks

by T. Gail Pritchard, PhD, College of Medicine, University of Arizona

http://columnfivemedia.com/work-items/good-infographic-outbreak-%E2%80%94-deadliest-pandemics-in-history/

This past summer, I took a course in global health. Not surprisingly, a great deal of the course focused in infectious diseases in developing nations. As part of our readings, lectures, and discussions, the origins of many of these diseases, the pathways to treatment and/or cure, and the impact on world history was featured. Of course as we covered various infectious diseases from cholera to HIV/AIDS, from malaria to polio, and from small pox to yellow fever, I made connections with children’s and young adult books I have read, Continue reading

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Taking Social Action: Social Media’s Relevance to Students’ Lives

By Jeanne Gilliam Fain & Christina Davidson

Following the discussion of Julia Alvarez’ s Return to Sender (2009), the fourth grade students jointly decided that the novel would be powerful as a movie. Vasquez, Tate, and Harste (2013) argue that social action includes a strategic move of school curriculum to the community in order to create relevance for students. For whatever reason, students created relevance in trying to advocate for Julia Alvarez to create a movie version of the book that they came to deeply care about. Continue reading

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Banned Books Week: Old Favorites

by T. Gail Pritchard, Ph.D., The University of Arizona

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There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing. (Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451).

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I started reminiscing about books I’ve read featuring book burnings, book challenges, and book bannings. Two immediately came to mind: Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Le Guin’s Voices.

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Banned Books Week: Beverly Naidoo

by T. Gail Pritchard, Ph.D., The University of Arizona

As we wind up Banned Books Week (September 30-October 6, 2012), I found myself wondering about children’s books banned and/or challenged in other countries, and thus began searching for titles. I knew Journey to Jo’burg had been banned in South Africa, so I decide Beverly Naidoo and her first novel would be my first step in investigating banned/challenged children’s literature world-wide.

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What’s Your Banned Books Story?

By T. Gail Pritchard, Ph.D., University of Arizona

banned books story, Daddy's RoommateGiven that it is Banned Books Week (September 30-October 6, 2012), I decided that in this first blog of October I would revisit a very public encounter I had with banned books, my “banned books story.” As an assistant professor at a small state college in western Kansas, I happily taught undergraduate and graduate children’s literature courses and various methods courses. I began my children’s literature courses with “Wandering and Wondering”: I would have about fifty books spread across the tables and students would spend about 30 minutes browsing through these books, knowing they would be sharing their discoveries. Continue reading