Exhibits

Worlds of Words: Center of Global Literacies and Literature typically hosts two major exhibitions in our studio space each year and several additional smaller exhibits in our special collections room. The displays are a combination of WOW’s holdings and art/materials on loan. Each includes hands-on invitations designed to help patrons of all ages engage more deeply in story. Take some time to explore some of our past shows, share your thoughts, and let us know what you’d like to see.

Critique to Support and Stretch: A Conversation between Juana Martinez-Neal and Molly Idle

Eva Halvax compares a panel from Alma with the original illustration in the WOW Studio.

Eva Halvax studies illustrations that Juana Martinez-Neal and Molly Idle say are most representative of their artistic voice. Photo credit: Ileana Roman


“Many people connect response and revision to the writing process. This exhibit provides a demonstration of how response and revision occur within the illustration process and of the ways in which illustrators can work together in a generative partnership. The visual conversation in this exhibition is engaging and insightful,” says Kathy Short, Professor of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies and Director of WOW.

Visual Narratives: Connecting Across Languages and Cultures

Teens post word bubbles on copies of interior illustrations from the book, The Arrival

Two Tucson teens imagine what the characters in Shaun Tan’s “The Arrival” may think or say in one of the exhibit invitations. Photo by Annika Hanson.


WOW shared “Visual Narratives: Connecting Across Languages and Cultures, an exhibit of global picturebooks that tell stories primarily through visual images. The exhibit is inspired by the “Silent Books, from the World to Lampedusa and Back,” a traveling exhibit of global books from the International Board on Books for Young People.

Creating Hope through Resilience: The Picturebook Art of Ronald Himler
Ronald Himler Elastic Band
The art of award-winning picturebook illustrator Ronald Himler captures how the resilience of children creates hope for the future. Worlds of Words’ exhibit, “Creating Hope through Resilience: The Picturebook Art of Ronald Himler” displays original illustrations from his books that lay bare the struggles children face when they grow up near conflict zones. Himler’s artistry features striking watercolors depicting children in global contexts coping with challenging experiences in their lives.

Create. Play. Learn.
Create Play Learn Courtney Gallant
“This exhibit is a lighthearted exploration into the meaning Create. Play. Learn. has within children’s literature,” says Kathy Short, Professor of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies and Director of WOW. “It encapsulates the experience of childhood, how children are always creating, playing and learning to bring meaning and significance into their lives.”

Stitching Stories: Hmong Customs and Symbols as Told through Storycloths
Stitching Stories
This exhibit featured traditional Hmong storycloths from WOW’s Mary J. Wong collection along with children’s books and hands-on activities for all ages. “Stitching Stories: Hmong Customs and Symbols as Told through Storycloths” highlighted the oral and textile storytelling traditions of the Hmong people. Examples of storytelling through textiles from Vietnam, Panama, Peru and Turkey were also on display.

Hello, Dear Enemy!

Hello, Dear Enemy!

Photo by Jen Ryder


The news is bleak. Even in homes where comfort and security are the rule, the media confronts children and adults with images of war, animosity and displacement. Some are directly affected while others have many questions, and all seek answers. The traveling exhibit, Hello, Dear Enemy!, does not provide answers, but it does provide a path to conversation. Worlds of Words was the first stop for this powerful collection from the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany.

Inspiration to Celebration: Publishing Journeys

Joan Sandin

The idea for Coyote School News came through Joan’s friend, María Amado, whose family had an Arizona town named after them. Joan and Maria are about 15 years old in this photo and did not have driver’s licenses. Fortunately, this automobile had no motor!


This exhibit featured the publishing journey of Coyote School News by Joan Sandin, an award-winning author, illustrator and translator. Sandin’s original artwork for Coyote School News hangs in the WOW Studio, and the Mary J. Wong Collection showcases her journey of publishing the book. Newspaper covers from two publications that feature the voices of young reporters, the Little Cowpuncher and Bear Essential News, also hang in the exhibit in the WOW Hall Gallery.

Code Making and Perspective Taking

Rhiannon Scavone, Grade 11


With the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, The University of Arizona community reflected upon and honors the tragic loss of sailors and marines killed aboard the USS Arizona. In keeping with this remembrance, Worlds of Words created a must-see WWII exhibit, Code Making and Perspective Taking, that focused on the Arizona experience with the war. This exhibit included art from students at Van Buskirk Elementary and Tucson High Magnet School inspired by the books and art on display.