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WOW Center Launches Reading-Focused Podcast Centering Youth Voices

The Worlds of Words Center at the University of Arizona College of Education launched a new podcast called “WOW Reads” that centers the voices of teens and pre-teens around literature for young people. The podcast, which currently has four episodes of about 15 minutes each and a bonus episode, features WOW Center Reading Ambassadors discussing books after having met the authors of those books.

WOW Reads podcast logo is the WOW logo of a globe in motion behind a stylized microphone Continue reading

Imagination Friday with Michaela Goade

A young girl holding a white and grey feather stands in the middle of a stylized wave. A crescent moon is behind her, plants in the dark of the moon, and sihlouettes of peopel holding hands to form a line is in the background.Meet Michaela Goade, illustrator of We Are Water Protectors, winner of the Caldecott medal. Michaela is the first Indigenous illustrator to win this award. We are celebrating her book in the Big Read initiative due to its focus on water as the first medicine that affects and connects all of us. When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison the water, one young water protector takes a stance to defend Earth’s most sacred resource.

Michaela will talk about her process of creating illustrations for the book and provide an illustrating invitation for children. She will also answer questions.

Big Read Tucson is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and features literary events from January to early March to explore the theme of water. The series centers on Postcolonial Love Poem, by Natalie Diaz, and We are Water Protectors, written by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade.


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


Portrait of a woman outdoorsMichalea Goade is an enrolled member of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. Her Tlingit name is Sheit.een and she is of the Kiks.á Clan (Raven/Frog) from Sheet’ká. She works as an illustrator with Indigenous authors and tribal organizations in the creation of beautiful and much-needed books. Her recent books include I Sang You Down the Stars, Berry Song and Remember.

Imagination Friday is co-sponsored by the Tucson Festival of Books and Worlds of Words, University of Arizona College of Education and occurs one Friday a month from 1 to 1:40 p.m. through December 2022 with a different author or illustrator each session. 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.

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PLO: Indigenous Children’s Literature

This event has reached capacity. Thank you for your interest!

You are invited to a professional learning opportunity focusing on engaging children with Indigenous Literature This PLO is co-sponsored by ITEP and the WOW Center. Please RSVP by January 30 to reserve a space.

A young girl holding a white and grey feather stands in the middle of a stylized wave. A crescent moon is behind her, plants in the dark of the moon, and silhouettes of people holding hands to form a line is in the background.This PLO focuses around the picture book, We Are Water Protectors by Lindstrom and Goade, and Postcolonial Love Poems by Natalie Diaz. Attendees will receive free copies of these two Indigenous books, plus be able to select other non-Indigenous books for their classrooms. The PLO includes:

• Learning about and browsing text sets of new Indigenous children’s books and books on water conservation. One exciting recent development is the publication of many new Indigenous books for children that are written and illustrated by Indigenous authors—Native voices telling Native stories. Since the majority are published within the last several years, the PLO will give you an opportunity to browse these books and identify ones that particularly interest you. We will also have a text set of books on water conservation because of the focus of We Are Water Protectors, for which Michaela Goade became the first Indigenous illustrator to win the Caldecott.
• Time to meet and plan lessons around We Are Water Protectors and other books that you have located during the browsing time. This planning will be an opportunity to enact the ITEP framework.
• You will receive professional development certificates
• While the PLO ends at noon, you are welcome to spend more time with the books in our Indigenous collection or to browse other books in our global collection that may be of interest to you in your own work, including books by the authors coming to the Tucson Festival of Books.

For those of you who are teachers, your students can participate in a virtual Imagination Friday with Michaela Goade on February 17. You will receive further information on that at the PLO. Also, you will receive information about the Tucson Festival of Books on March 4-5 and an invitation to meet Natalie Diaz at the festival.

Big Read Tucson is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and will feature a series of literary events from January to early March and will explore the theme of water. The series will center on two books: Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz, and We are Water Protectors written by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade. The final event will be Sunday March 5, 2023: “Poetexts of Love: A Community Celebration” author presentation with Natalie Diaz at the Tucson Festival of Books.

Free parking is available at the surface parking lot north of the intersection of First and Vine. Sometimes free parking is available at the Second St. Garage next door to the College of Education. The WOW Center is also located just off of the 2nd St. Modern Streetcar stop.

To request disability-related accommodations that would ensure your full participation in this event, please email wow@arizona.edu or call 520.621.9340.

Event details may change.

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Environmental Sciences

By Susan Corapi, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL

This last month has been marked by new heat records, blamed on climate change. Environmentalists prod us individually and collectively to take action to reverse this change. We are encouraged to use our vehicles less so we emit less CO2 gases. We reduce, reuse, and recycle. Some communities put restrictions on grocery stores using plastic bags in an effort to reduce plastics in landfills. And we can now purchase products that assure us they were made with a high percentage of recycled materials. In fact we can walk on boardwalks at national parks made of recycled bottles and sit on benches made of recycled plastic bags. We can purchase decor made from repurposed objects and mulch our gardens with recycled rubber tires. All of these actions relate to a sustainable use of resources–in other words, how can we use the precious natural resources we have in ways that reduce the “footprint” we leave behind and conserve resources for the future?

Stopping and reversing global-scale damage starts with awareness and the belief that change is possible. This week I want to profile books that raise that awareness or describe actions–both small and large–that people of all ages have taken in order to preserve our natural resources. Continue reading

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Water in Indigenous Children’s Literature

Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA

In Lakota language, water is called mni wiconi, literally “it gives me life.” Without water, there would be no life. Water is fundamental for every living being on this planet. Indeed, water, too, is living. Indigenous communities around the globe have always known that protecting and repairing water is essential for our survival. Stories of the the importance of water, its sacredness, and the fight of the water protectors are present in literature for children and young adults.

Water in Indigenous Children’s Literature Continue reading