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In Honor of Vivian Yenika-Agbaw

Vivian wearing a pearled top and a vivid pink headwrap. She's smiling.Our field lost a scholar of children’s literature, and we lost a treasured friend and colleague when Vivian Yenika-Agbaw passed away on September 20, 2021. Vivian was a professor of children’s and adolescent literature at Penn State University where she taught in both the residential and World campus programs. She grew up in Cameroon and remained connected both professionally and personally to these roots as she gathered supplies and resources for teachers in that country and wrote about West African and African Diaspora literature for young people through the critical lens of postcolonialism. She was concerned about issues of power and colonialism, not only in books from and about countries in Africa, but in other regions around the world whose literatures are seldom the focus of scholarship. Her research on representations of Africa in children’s books provided both historical and current critical analyses of trends and issues. Continue reading

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Activities with Audiobook Incorporating Print Books

Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District, Tucson, AZ

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A few years ago, Yoo Kyung and I (Junko) worked with Mr. Wilson’s 8th graders in Tucson Unified School District (TUSD), Tucson, AZ. We shared with them Blended (2018) by Sharon M. Draper through its audiobook and printed text. Blended is a contemporary realistic fiction story of Isabella, a biracial 11-year-old girl, with a Black father and White mother. Isabella’s parents are divorcing and having a new family. One week is Dad’s Week, where she spends her week at her dad’s place with his girlfriend and her son in a fancy big house. Alternatively she spends her week at her mom’s (Mom’s Week) with her mom and her boyfriend in a small, not fancy house. Switching houses, nicknames (i.e. mom calls her Izzy and dad calls her Isabella), and school backpacks every week make Isabella feel stuck between the two lives and ripped in two. At school and in public spaces, she faces racial violence, discrimination, and police-involved shooting. Going through all of these, Isabella begins to think of who she is and how her identity, parents’ divorce, and racism impacts her life and relationships with families and schoolmates. (Watch the Blended book trailer here.) Continue reading

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Exploring Ebook Types For Teaching Resources

Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District, Tucson, AZ


Today, there is a growing number of quality and newly published children’s and young adult literature available in audiobook and ebook formats through various online educational platforms such as Epic, Storyline Online, and PBS KIDS. Also, many stories are read aloud by educators and book authors and uploaded to YouTube. Jacqueline Woodson reads aloud her book The Day You Begin, Minh Le reads aloud his book Drawn Together, and Kevin Henkes reads aloud Kitten’s First Full Moon. Continue reading

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Talking about Audiobook, Videobook, and more: New Changes the Pandemic Brought

Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District, Tucson, AZ


Until the pandemic occurred, my (Yoo Kyung) workout routines barely left indoor facilities. I ran on a treadmill, sweated at a hot yoga studio, and moaned at a pilates studio while something was stretching. Then the pandemic circumstance closed many indoor workout facilities. I needed alternatives so I began running and walking in my neighborhood instead of a treadmill. Thinking back, my audiobook history began with the pandemic just like that. Listening to audiobooks shortened my to-read-stacks while I added my running mileages. When I was listening to David Yoon’s Frankly In Love, I completed a lot of house chores because I kept listening as we often say, “I couldn’t put it [book] down”. It was the exact same feeling. When I needed to mark a passage, the audiobook app let me bookmark with and without my notes. What I appreciate most is that I could do other physical activities while I listen to it so I was able to accomplish multiple tasks that include finishing multiple books. Continue reading

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Creating Literature-Based Digital Classroom

By Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District, Tucson, AZ and Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

In our school district (Tucson Unified School District (TUSD)), in this unusual time, “Bitmoji Classroom” is one of the hottest educational tools among teachers, especially Grades K-5, for distance learning. A bitmoji (personal avatar) classroom is an interactive virtual classroom that bridges virtual and hands-on learning to keep students engaged. It makes resources, such as a school calendar, books, and activities, easily accessible to students and provides them with a sense of virtual familiarity and stability. Continue reading

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MTYT: The War Outside

By Michele Ebersole, University of Hawaii, Hilo, HI, and Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

Michele and Yoo Kyung continue on the theme of Rethinking Cultural and Physical Borders in Children’s Literature: Understanding Today’s Global Politics Through History. This week, they look at The War Outside by Monica Hesse.

The War Outside My Take Your Take banner includes bibliographic information that is available at the bottom of this post. Continue reading

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MTYT: They Called Us Enemy

By Michele Ebersole, University of Hawaii, Hilo, HI, and Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

Michele and Yoo Kyung continue on the theme of Rethinking Cultural and Physical Borders in Children’s Literature: Understanding Today’s Global Politics Through History. This week, they look at They Called Us Enemy by George Takei.

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MTYT: The Unwanted

By Michele Ebersole, University of Hawaii, Hilo, HI, and Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

This month, Michele and Yoo Kyung give their takes on rethinking cultural and physical borders in children’s literature to understand today’s global politics through history. In week two, they share The Unwanted by Don Brown.

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MTYT: Between Us and Abuela

By Michele Ebersole, University of Hawaii, Hilo, HI, and Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

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This month, Michele and Yoo Kyung give their takes on rethinking cultural and physical borders in children’s literature to understand today’s global politics through history. They begin their series with Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border by Mitali Perkins and Sara Palecios.

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Finding Readers’ Voices through Listening and Reading Blended

Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM and Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District, Tucson, AZ

Blended coverThis week we share the digital natives’ experiences in the 8th grade classroom with a print–based text and an audiobook from the classroom. Recently, fifteen 8th grade students at the Drachman Montessori K–8 Magnet School in Tucson read Blended by Sharon M. Draper (2019). They are going to read two different formats of Blended; the 320 paged printed–text reading that consists of 80 chapters and the audiobook listening that takes 5 hours and 42 minutes. The students read and listen to chapters in turn intentionally to challenge their reluctant attitudes towards printed texts that RPR (Reluctant Printed–Text Readers) have. Continue reading