WOW News

Worlds of Words is Out of this World at 2019 Tucson Festival of Books

By Lacey Nehls, Project Management Intern, Worlds of Words

Take one giant leap into literature with Worlds of Words at the Tucson Festival of Books. WOW and the UofA College of Education engage festival goers of all ages to space-related literature and hands-on activities in Booth 330. The Tucson Festival of Books takes place Saturday, March 2 and Sunday, March 3.

WOW Tucson Festival of Books Activity Continue reading

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MTYT: Alma and How She Got Her Name

By Dorea Kleker, University of Arizona and Maria Acevedo-Aquino, Texas A&M University-San Antonio.

This month we discuss four picturebooks by authors and illustrators who will join us at the Tucson Festival of Books in March. We chose to focus on these authors’ and illustrators’ most recent picturebooks, all of which were published between 2016-2018.

Written and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal, Alma and How She Got Her Name follows Alma as she learns the meaning of her very long name that respects her ancestors and heritage. As Alma’s dad tells her ancestors’ stories, she finds inspiration and learns they had similar interests. With a newfound appreciation for her name, Alma begins her own life story.

Alma and How She Got Her Name

MARIA: The minute I read Alma and How She Got Her Name, I thought about the Family Story Backpacks project led by CREATE. As a curricular experience, it uses stories and artifacts centered on particular themes to encourage the sharing of family stories both at home and in classrooms. As with any text with a particular theme of names or backpacks, Alma and How She Got Her Name would be such an exciting addition to a a CREATE backpack. The main character, Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela learns about the story behind her six names through her father’s storytelling. I can see the cultural practice of numerous names is familiar to some children, while unfamiliar to others. Indeed, this book is an opportunity for exciting conversations.

DOREA: Maria, through our work with the Family Story Backpacks, we often talk about the many roles that stories play: to inform, transform, connect, and make meaning. In this particular book, I am struck by the power of stories to transform Alma’s negative view of her name that never “fits” on the page. Her name initially seems too long, but it becomes one she is proud to carry as her own. With his invitation, “Come here… Let me tell you the story of your name. Then you decide if it fits,” Alma’s father gives Alma both the power of knowing the stories behind her name and also the agency to choose whether or not she wants to claim them as powerful parts of her identity. From her book-loving grandmother, Sofia, to Jose, her artistic grandfather, each story her father tells allows Alma to recognize the important parts of herself that she shares with those who came before her. Maria, were there any of Alma’s father’s stories that particularly resonated with you?

MARIA: I’m most intrigued by the story behind her sixth name, Candela. Candela was Alma’s maternal grandmother and the only relative throughout the book to wear the same striped pants as Alma. Knowing that Peruvian author and illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal wrote this story based on her childhood experiences, I wonder about the special connection between Alma and her maternal grandmother (especially since her mother is never mentioned in the story). Candela is also described as an advocate and activist who marched along individuals carrying signs that read, “Escucha, Piensa, ¡Denuncia!/ Listen, Think, Speak Up.” I can’t stop thinking about the English meaning of Candela of luminous intensity and its connection to activism.

DOREA: Just as you find yourself wondering about the stripes and signs, I find Juana’s detailed illustrations beckoning me to lean closer to the page and to comb the drawings for clues that take me beyond the words of Father’s stories to imagine more. The more I look, the more I find. Each subsequent reading illuminates new discoveries–titles of books, a beloved plant, a feathered friend, a red string. Upon closer look, these visual treasures appear across multiple pages, highlighting the many ways in which Alma’s stories- and our own- always connect to one other.

Title: Alma and How She Got Her Name
Author and Illustrator: Juana Martinez-Neal
ISBN: 9780763693558
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: April 10, 2018

This is the first installment of February’s issue of My Take/Your Take. Check back each Wednesday to follow the conversation!

Festival Hoopla

Tucson Festival of BooksBe in the know! Join us for a Festival Hoopla!

Stop by Worlds of Words for a preview of books by Tucson Festival of Books children’s and teen authors and to gather ideas and resources for educators and others.

At the Hoopla, you can:

✔️ Browse new books by authors and illustrators appearing at the festival.
✔️ Listen to brief book talks and introductions to the books and authors.
✔️ Learn about the storytellers appearing at the festival.
✔️ Gather info to introduce these books and authors to children and teens.
✔️ Sign up for author visits and find out how to conduct a successful visit.
✔️ Receive festival bookmarks, flyers and information.
✔️ Get a discount coupon to pick up festival books at the UA BookStores (Student Union).

Hope to see you on January 13.

Authors' Corner

Authors’ Corner: J.C. Cervantes on The Storm Runner

By Blaire Krakowitz, University of Arizona

Ancient Stories for a New Generation

J.C. Cervantes, New York Times author of The Storm RunnerIt has been said that no story is entirely original. All stories take ideas and inspiration from others and mold them into something new. Books connect stories from the past to experiences from the present, creating ties between the new and the old. Young Adult fiction embraces older stories and folklore, especially in recent years. Ancient mythologies have become a particularly popular source of inspiration, and for good reason. Myths explain how the world works. Comparisons between the ideas of cultures from the past to our current understanding of the world lend themselves to dynamic, creative exploration in fiction.

Rick Riordan’s young adult novels, including the ever-popular Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, bring modern twists on traditional mythologies into the YA mainstream. Riordan explores Greek, Egyptian and Norse myth works–only a few of the myriad of mythologies to grace world tradition. Riordan teamed up with Disney Hyperion to create the Rick Riordan Presents imprint to provide other authors with the opportunity to retell their own cultures’ myths. In the imprint’s first wave of rich stories emerges J.C. Cervantes’ engrossing, action-packed and ceaselessly charming take on Maya legends: The Storm Runner. Continue reading

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MTYT: When Dimple Met Rishi

The Tucson Festival of Books celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and to honor that milestone, this month My Take/Your Take features four books by 2018 festival authors. We provide our personal take after reading the books, hearing from the authors in sessions and sometimes meeting the author in person. This week we give our take on When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon.

When Dimple Met Rishi Continue reading

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In the Shadow of the Sun: Understanding Complex Identities

By Dorea Kleker, University of Arizona

Google “North Korea” right now and a flurry of presidential tweets and news stories of missiles is surprisingly absent. This week, the Olympics overwhelmingly trump (pun intended) impending war and dangerous egos. The top three hits include an Australian Kim Jong-Un impersonator, the North Korean Olympic delegation and 229 members of the North Korean cheerleading squad. On the surface, they’re light stories. Read beyond the headlines and the deeper issues persist: dictators, brutal regimes, extreme human rights abuses and nuclear threats.

In the Shadow of the Sun by Anne Sibley O'Brien Continue reading

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Truth Behind Stories in I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

By Dorea Kleker, The University of Arizona

This month’s WOW Currents focuses on four books whose authors will present at the 2018 Tucson Festival of Books: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, When Dimple Met Rishi, The Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus and In the Shadow of the Sun.

Daniel Geffre reads I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez Continue reading

Tucson Festival of Books Hoopla

TFOB Hoopla 2018Join us for a sneak peek of the authors and illustrators for children and teens coming to the Tucson Festival of Books in March. Participate in stations set up around Worlds of Words to gather ideas and resources, such as:

– Brief book talks and introductions to the books and festival authors
– Gather information to use in introducing these books and authors to children and teens
– Sign up for author visits and find out how to conduct a successful visit
– Receive festival bookmarks, flyers, and information

While you’re here, make sure you visit our new exhibit!

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TFOB YA Authors Empower Teens to Speak Out

By Angel Stone, Worlds of Words Intern, The University of Arizona

Politicians admit to using their status to take advantage of women. Movie directors and actors use their power to assault young people. Mental health concerns are at an all-time high for children and teens. The novels we look at this month, written by authors attending the 2018 Tucson Festival of Books, address the issues of assault, unfounded judgment and mental illness. These TFOB YA authors provide a way to initiate conversations on difficult topics between young people and those who care about them.

TFOB YA Authors Empower Teens to Speak Out Continue reading