WOW News

The Tucson Festival of Books Goes Virtual in 2021

The Tucson Festival of Books goes virtual March 6-7, 2021! The Children’s and Teen sessions will be available on-line and live at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Arizona time. Worlds of Worlds: Center of Global Literacies and Literatures has been involved with the festival since its inception, and we will continue this year as your guide. Download a PDF version of the schedule of the Children’s and Teen sessions. For an accessible schedule, visit tucsonfestivalofbooks.org.

Tucson Festival of Books logo with sponsors listed Continue reading

Imagination Friday with Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal

woman holding a baby in left hand and bowl of fry bread in another.Meet Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal to hear about their award-winning picturebook, Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story. Kevin and Juana will share the process of writing and illustrating their picturebook, invite children to create their own family stories and answer questions.

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


Host: Kathy Short, Professor of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies and Director of WOW
Panelists: Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal
Co-Sponsor: Tucson Festival of Books


portrait picture of Kevin in black shirtKevin Noble Maillard is the author of Fry Bread and a regular writer and former contributing editor to The New York Times. Currently based in Manhattan, he splits time between the city and upstate New York, where he is a tenured professor of law at Syracuse University. Originally from Oklahoma, he is an enrolled citizen of the Seminole Nation.

smiling portrait picture of JuanaJuana Martinez-Neal is an illustrator of books for children, including the award-winning La Princesa and the Pea, Alma and How She Got Her Name and Fry Bread. Juana was born in Lima, Peru, where she grew up surrounded by amazing meals prepared by her mom and amazing paintings made by her dad and granddad. She now lives, eats and paints in Scottsdale, surrounded by her amazing children.

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

Imagination Friday with Molly Idle and Beth Ferry

 green triangle mountain with two mountain goats and a baby mountain goat on top with butterflies.Join Molly Idle and Beth Ferry to hear about their new picturebook, We Believe In You. Animals inspire their little ones to chase their dreams and reach for the stars. This stunning picturebook is about the joy of believing in yourself and in one another! Molly and Beth share the process of writing and illustrating their new book, invite children to create their own stories and answer questions.

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


Host: Kathy Short, Professor of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies and Director of WOW.
Panelists: Molly Idle and Beth Ferry
Co-Sponsor: Tucson Festival of Books


smiling portrait of Beth Ferry in black turtle neck shirtBeth Ferry is the New York Times bestselling author of Stick and Stone, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, The Scarecrow illustrated by The Fan Brothers, and many other books. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, three children and two bulldogs.

Molly Idle wearing black rimmed glasses with books behind herMolly Idle is the author and illustrator of the Caldecott Honor Book Flora and the Flamingo and the Flora series, the Rex series and Pearl. Molly lives in sunny Arizona with her marvelous, multi-generational family which includes her brilliant husband, two mercurial sons, two remarkable parents and a pair of snugly cats.

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

Imagination Friday with Max Brallier

a group of kids close together surrounded by skulls.Meet Max Brallier, author of the Last Kids on Earth series. Max will share the highly anticipated sixth book in this bestselling series, The Last Kids on Earth and the Skeleton Road. In their latest adventure, Jack, June, Quint and Dirk go on a road trip to search for the villain Thrull and his skeleton army. The Last Kids on Earth is now available as a Netflix series. This webinar will include an activity and Q&A.

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


Host: Kathy Short, Professor of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies and Director of WOW
Panelists: Max Brallier
Co-Sponsor: Tucson Festival of Books


Max Brallier is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. His books and series include The Last Kids on Earth, Eerie Elementary, Mister Shivers, Galactic Hot Dogs, and Can YOU Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? He is a writer and producer for Netflix’s Emmy-award-winning adaptation of The Last Kids on Earth. Max lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter. Visit him at MaxBrallier.com.

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

Imagination Friday with Gordon C. James

boy in a white shirt with arms crosses across chest wearing a backpack.Meet illustrator Gordon C. James, and hear about his new book, I Am Every Good Thing, written by Derrick Barnes. This book challenges the negative images and feelings that surround Black boys by saying they are “worthy of success, respect, safety, kindness, happiness—they are every good thing.”

Watch the recording right here! Gordon shares his new book and his process of illustrating the book, invites children to create their own illustrations and answer questions.

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


Host: Kathy Short, Professor of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies and Director of WOW.
Panelists: Gordon C. James
Co-Sponsor: Tucson Festival of Books


Gordon wearing a black shirt with arms crossed in front on his chest.Gordon C. James illustrated the critically acclaimed picture book Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut (by Derrick Barnes), which received a Caldecott Honor, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, an Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor, the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers, and a Society of Illustrators Gold Medal. He also illustrated Let ‘Er Buck!: George Fletcher the People’s Champion (by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson). He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife and two children.

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

Imagination Friday with Andy Griffiths

Full-length shot of Andy Griffiths in dark jeans and a blazer over a graphic T-shirt.Join us to laugh along with international superstar, Andy Griffiths, all the way from Australia. Andy is the bestselling author of the Treehouse chapter book series and will tell about his newest book, The Treehouse Joke Book, and his upcoming 10th book in the series, The 130-Story Treehouse. The Treehouse Joke Book is chock-full of gags, quips, puns and cartoons. The Treehouse books by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton are chapter books filled with black-and-white drawings and packed with jokes, nonstop action and exuberant storytelling. Hang out in their 130-Story Treehouse, that has a soap bubble blaster, a time-wasting level, the GRABINATOR (can grab anything from anywhere at any time), a toilet paper factory and an extraterrestrial observation center. This webinar will include time for a Q&A and an activity.

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


Host: Kathy Short, Professor of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies and Director of WOW
Panelists: Andy Griffiths
Co-Sponsor: Tucson Festival of Books


Andy Griffiths is the best-selling author of the Treehouse series, Killer Koalas from Outer Space, The Big Fat Cow That Goes Kapow and The Cat on the Mat is Flat. Andy lives in Melbourne, Australia and works with cartoonist Terry Denton. Andy and Terry’s books have sold over 10 million copies in Australia and won many awards, including Book of the Year. The Treehouse series has been embraced by children around the world and is now published in more than 35 countries. Five of the books have been adapted for the stage in the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S.

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

WOW News

Worlds of Words Presents Imagination Fridays

By Aika Adamson, Worlds of Words

Worlds of Words and the Tucson Festival of Books partnered to bring excitement and fun to children with our limited series, Imagination Friday. Each Friday at 1 p.m., an author or illustrator appears virtually to discuss their books live with children in classrooms and at home. These bestselling creators do a brief presentation, lead activities and answer questions. This weekly series runs from September through December 2020, and each session is recorded and posted online to be viewed again at a later time.

Copies of the books featured on Imagination Fridays can be ordered from UArizona BookStores. 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

Imagination Friday with Sherri Duskey Rinker

Join your favorite Construction Site crew in their next, new adventure! At this event Sherri will present Construction Site Mission: Demolition!, then invite children to participate in an activity.

Download the Construction Site Mission: Demolition Activity Kit from Chronicle Books for this event.

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


Host: Kathy Short, Professor of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies and Director of WOW.
Panelists: Sherri Duskey Rinker
Co-Sponsor: Tucson Festival of Books


Sherri is the author of five New York Times bestselling picturebooks, including the Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site Series. She also authored Steam Train, Dream Train and the nonfiction picture book biography Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton (HMH, illust. by John Rocco). Some of her other titles include The 12 Sleighs of Christmas (Chronicle, illust. by Jake Parker), Tiny and the Big Dig (Scholastic, illust. by Matt Myers) and Celebrate YOU! (Balzer+Bray, illust. by A.N. Kang). Her first middle grade novel, Revver The Speedway Squirrel, debuts fall 2020 (Bloomsbury, illust. by Alex Willan) with a sequel scheduled for 2021. Sherri lives in the Chicago area with her husband, two sons and one fluffy dog. Inspired by her childhood love of books, her sons, and her 25-year career as a graphic designer, Sherri writes in hopes of making the world a little more fun and encouraging early readers, one book at a time.

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

Imagination Friday with Christina Soontornvat

Join Christina in this exciting presentation of her book All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Boys Tai Soccer Team. Combining material from community interviews with in-depth science content and details about the region’s culture and religion, All Thirteen paints two scenes of unflagging perseverance: Aboveground, a global rescue team of military personnel, engineers, medics, cave divers, and other volunteers races to find the trapped boys. Almost half a mile below, a similarly heroic effort is taking place in the quiet darkness as the Wild Boars focus on conserving their energy and oxygen, and—most importantly—keeping their hopes up. Both the boys and their rescuers will soon prove to the world that even in the face of impossible odds, the human spirit is an irrepressible force.

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


Host: Kathy Short, Professor of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies and Director of WOW.
Panelists: Christina Soontornvat
Co-Sponsor: Tucson Festival of Books


Head shot of Christina Soontornvat smiling in an outdoor environment.

Photo credit: Sam Bond Photography

Christina Soontornvat grew up behind the counter of her parents’ Thai restaurant in a small Texas town with her nose stuck in a book. She is the author of the fantasy middle grade series, The Changelings, and the early chapter book series, Diary of an Ice Princess. Her books published in 2020 include the middle grade fantasy, A Wish in the Dark, and All Thirteen. In addition to being an author, Christina holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a master’s degree in Science Education. She spent a decade working in the science museum field, where she designed programs and exhibits to get kids excited about science. She is passionate about STEM (science, technology engineering, and math), and loves learning new things. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, two young children and one old cat.

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