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Press Clippings & Presentations:

December 5, 2022:
Hankyoreh Newspaper: A children’s book that embraces race and gender… Kids saw the ‘open world’

Woman reads aloud Paper Son to 2nd grade students seated on the floor

Hankyoreh Newspaper

On the morning of the 2nd of last month (local time), a psychology class was being held at Worlds of Words, a children’s book library installed at the University of Arizona in the United States. Under the guidance of the librarian, the college students began looking at the bookshelves of children’s books divided according to various cultural identities such as ‘Indian’, ‘European’, ‘Asian/East Asian’, and ‘Latin’. Emma McWilliams took a close look at the Asian/East Asian bookshelves. “My mother is from Myanmar,” so she naturally wondered if there was a book about Myanmar’s culture.

November 23, 2022
Daily Wildcat: Artist Wilson Ong discusses ‘Paper Son: Lee’s Journey to America’

Original illustration from “Paper Son: Lee’s Journey”. Juliana Siml, Daily Wildcat

“On Oct. 27, the Worlds of Words Center hosted a reception for artist Wilson Ong, the illustrator of “Paper Son: Lee’s Journey to America.” Set in 1926, this dynamic children’s book tells the story of 12-year-old Fu Lee who immigrates to America under a false name as a “paper son.” During the reception at the WOW center, Ong discussed how the inspiration for his work came from his own life.”

October 5, 2022
Our Time Press: Discovering the Myth and Folklore of Black Mermaids

Mythological and folklore tales of Black mermaids date back hundreds of years in Africa, the Caribbean, and some gulf communities in the US. Literary education and sociocultural scholars Dr. Desiree Cueto and Dr. Dorea Kleker at the University of Arizona recently wrote a historical overview of Black mermaids for the web literary journal Worlds of Words. On the site, the educators recommend 12 fiction young adult and children’s books about Black mermaids. According to their feature in World of Words, the mermaid is a prominent figure in stories told across different African nations. The half human/half fish water spirit is referred to by other names depending on the specific African nation and unique cultures.

September 9, 2022
Arizona Daily Star: Research library brings a world of knowledge to the Tucson children

“There are good reasons the Worlds of Words Center at the University of Arizona is popularly known as “WOW,” and the acronym is only one of them. Last week, students from Paulo Freire Freedom School visited the center as part of an eighth-grade field trip. While there, they explored an exhibit featuring “paper sons” — a generation of Chinese immigrants who came to the U.S. with false identifies. Many of those young men were of middle-school age, themselves, and upon hearing of their harrowing experience one young Tucsonan could think of only one thing to say: “Wow!””

May 6, 2022
Arizona Daily Star: Photos: Children of Tucson take part in International Art Exhibit

An aunt enthusiastically engages her two children in creating art against a backdrop of children's self-portraits.

“Megan Foley, middle, brought her nephew, Sean and niece, Ruby to the ‘Children Draw Themselves’ exhibit inside of the Worlds of Words: Center of Global Literacies and Literatures library.Kyler Van Vliet, Arizona Daily Star

May 2, 2022
AZPM: International exhibition focuses on children’s pandemic self-portraits
Tucson is the show’s first stop outside of Germany.

“It’s been more than two years since the COVID-19 virus started wreaking havoc around the world, leading to millions of deaths, businesses shutdowns, social distancing, mask wearing and other issues. During the the isolation and confusion of 2020, a program by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany sought drawings or paintings of self-portraits from children around the world. The library received hundreds of images and some of those it acquired are now part of a traveling exhibition which is on display at the University of Arizona.”

April 27, 2022
UA COE News: Worlds of Words Awarded Pandemic Recovery Grant to Re-Launch Intergenerational Community Literacy Program

“Worlds of Words, housed in the University of Arizona College of Education, in partnership with the Southern Arizona Writing Project, announces the awarding of a grant through the National Writing Project’s “Building a More Perfect Union”, a grant program for humanities organizations across the United States to assist in recovering from interruptions to operations due to the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking for Organizations at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Building a More Perfect Union program funds organizations to develop programming in anticipation of the upcoming 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States.”

March 9, 2022
UA News: The Tucson Festival of Books is back! Here’s what to expect

The Tucson Festival of Books is making a comeback – again.After the 2020 festival was canceled at the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic, it returned last year in an all-virtual format. But this year marks the festival’s return to an in-person format for the first time in three years. The event will take over the University of Arizona Mall and surrounding buildings March 12-13.

December 8, 2021
Pine Reads Review: Worlds of Words | Around the World in 70 Maps Exhibit

“Worlds of Words: Center of Global Literacies and Literatures (WOW), the University of Arizona’s global collection of children’s literature, is currently showing an exhibit titled Around the World in 70 Maps: Three Centuries of Cartographic Treasures from Children’s Literature. I had the opportunity to speak with one of WOW’s directors, Rebecca Ballenger, and look around this amazing exhibit.”

January 26, 2021
Crossville Chronicle: Westminster preservice teachers use ‘hidden stories’ to reach students

“Eight Westminster College secondary education preservice teachers spent the fall semester exploring ways to elevate the voices of underrepresented writers, scientists, mathematicians and historical figures, while also weaving those ‘hidden stories’ into their teaching strategies. The work of the preservice teachers is featured in January edition of the international teacher website Worlds of Words.”
The series can be read here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4.

February 18, 2020
Daily Wildcat: How dual-language picture books preserve and diversify culture

Nicola Daly stands in front of a power point presentation

Diana Ramos | The Daily Wildcat

“In a city as diverse as Tucson, multilingual education is a necessity for perpetuating the preservation and mingling of cultures. New Zealand Fulbright scholar Nicola Daly recently led a workshop at the University of Arizona that proposed using dual-language picture books as a resource for early multilingual education.”

“Dual-language picture books are powerful resources, they can support linguistic diversity,” Daly said. “They recognize linguistic diversity.”

January 16, 2020
KGUN 9: WOW program at UArizona helping high school students: Giving them an opportunity to experience college

Photo of Gregory Medina in Stanford hoodie

Veronika Vernachio for KGUN9

“A center at the University of Arizona College of Education is offering an opportunity for high school students to get involved in college. Worlds of Words: Center of Global Literacies and Literatures builds bridges across global cultures through children’s and adolescent literature. … Worlds of Words offers a Teen Reading Ambassador program for students to get a college experience within UArizona that focuses on books for teens. Ambassadors learn about young adult literature under the direction of faculty and staff with expertise in children’s literature, education, library science and marketing.”

December 10, 2019
This Is Tucson: The UA’s Worlds of Words is holding a giant children’s book sale this weekend

This weekend, a library at the University of Arizona is selling discounted children’s books. Worlds of Words: Center for Global Literacies and Literatures is the largest global collection of children’s and young adult books in the United States. So that means you can expect some good stuff at this sale.

September 11, 2019
UofA College of Education Facebook Live Tour of Worlds of Words

Watch our live tour!

August 6, 2019
This Is Tucson: 3 Tucson spots to help broaden your kids’ education

Spend a morning at this global children’s library in the University of Arizona’s College of Education.

July 28, 2019
Arizona Daily Star: This hidden-gem library at the UA has 40,000 global children’s books

Kathy Short and Gudrun Godare read a visual narrative at exhibit reception

David Martinez / For the Arizona Daily Star

On the fourth floor of the University of Arizona’s College of Education, 40,000 books tell the stories of children and teens from around the world. Sunlight streams through windows showcasing views of the Catalina Mountains, and window benches beckon, welcoming students studying or children curling up with a picture book. The Worlds of Words: Center for Global Literacies and Literatures is the largest global collection of children’s and young adult books in the United States.

July 8, 2019
Daily Wildcat: Highlighting UA employees after Forbes recognition

Four women work with exhibit materials around a table. Photo by Vincent Tran of the Daily Wildcat.

Vincent Tran/The Daily Wildcat

“[Rebecca Ballenger] not only inspires the children who visit Worlds of Words, she also finds ways to bring together College of Education staff and faculty members for fun workshops,” Hargett said. … “She inspires the same level of creativity and provides opportunities for them to learn, grow and gain confidence in preparation for their professional careers.”

May 20, 2019
Library Planet: Worlds of Words, University of Arizona, USA – the largest collection of global children’s books in the United States!

Students from Tohono O'odham High School engage in a lively discussion around a tableNestled on the campus of the University of Arizona (UofA) in the Sonoran Desert, Worlds of Words (WOW) holds the largest collection of global children’s books in the United States. WOW serves the university as well as the greater Tucson community. “Worlds of Words builds bridges across global cultures through children’s and adolescent literature” (

April 8, 2019
KJZZ: Untold Arizona: How The Country’s Largest Collection Of Global Children’s Books Grew In Tucson

Photo of glass entrance to Worlds of Words collection.

Mariana Dale/KJZZ

The gray plastic crate in front of me just arrived in Tucson from Basel, Switzerland.

Inside there are dozens of picture books from around the world.

Kathy G. Short pulls out one with an orange and yellow cover. It’s from Egypt and there’s an image of a sun tucked into the Arabic title.

October 29, 2018 – Presentation
Una Mirada a la Literatura Infantil: Current Trends in Literature for Children and Adolescents in Mexico

Held in Worlds of Words

October 4, 2018
UofA Alumni Association: WOW, What a Legacy!

Kathy Short

Photo by Chris Richards/UAAA

In January, Jerry and Kathy Short were vacationing in Hawaii when their cellphones displayed this message: Emergency Alert: BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. “We followed the masses into a hotel cafeteria, which was like a bunker. People really panicked. They were crying and calling their loved ones to say goodbye,” says Jerry Short. A second message came through 38 minutes later identifying the alert as a false alarm. The Shorts decided that day to make some decisions about their charitable giving.

October 3, 2018
Inside Philanthropy: Afterglow: A Startlingly Successful Fundraising Campaign Officially Ends, and the Gifts Keep Coming

University of ARizonaA $1 million gift from Kathy G. Short and her husband Jerry to endow the director’s position of the University of Arizona’s (UA) World of Words (WOW), the largest collection of global literature for children and young adults in the nation, suggests that successful fundraising campaigns can live on in spirit well after the official end date.

September 24, 2018
AZPM: Endowment to Support Global-Literature Collection for Kids

The nation’s largest collection of children’s and teen global literature has received a $1 million endowment to support future teaching and scholarship.


September 19, 2018
UA News: Endowment Will Support Children’s Literature Collection at UA

Kathy ShortA $1 million gift has been made to the University of Arizona to support Worlds of Words. The gift was made by the collection’s director, Kathy G. Short, and her husband, Jerry Short, who wanted to endow the director’s position in order to ensure that Short’s successors are leading scholars who can further advance the collection.

September 4, 2018
NCTE’s Build Your Stack: Widening Our Lens by Bringing Books from around the Globe into K-12 Classrooms

Teachers are always searching for new ways to challenge students to explore their own lives and the diversity of cultural communities that enrich us. Looking to “global literature” – books from diverse cultures around the world — provides an opportunity for students to go beyond a tourist perspective of only gaining surface-level information about a culture.

March 26, 2018
School Librarian Leadership: #AASLslm School Library Month–Global Connections

Worlds of Words (WOW) has created global book lists that pair classic children’s and young adult literature with global books that reflect the cultural diversity of our students and our world. These fiction and informational books, organized by grade level, can support librarians’ global collection development as well as provide critically reviewed texts that can be integrated into the curriculum.

March 20, 2018
Global Literature In Libraries Initiative: Worlds of Words

This year I have enjoyed serving on the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Book Award Committee with USBBY, the United States Board on Books for Young People. Our chair, Dr. Kathy Short, is a professor at the University of Arizona, College of Education in Tucson. She is the Director of an exciting project called Worlds of Words.

October 5, 2017
Bookmans: Messing with the Bull–The Legacy of Ferdinand

The Hello, Dear Enemy! exhibit at Worlds of Words provides the perfect setting to learn more about Ferdinand and books like it: stories that remind us of how powerful each of us can be in the face of opposition and darkness. Worlds of Words is the first stop for this traveling exhibit, so be sure to stop by before it ships out!

June 14, 2017
Daily Wildcat: Boos and Bravos

Bravo to Worlds of Words for adding a world language section. The research center received donations of 1,000 books from students, faculty and other supporters within the community.

June 6, 2017
UA News: UA’s Worlds of Words Grows by 1K New Books

Soviet-era PicturebooksWorlds of Words in the University of Arizona’s College of Education has added a World Language collection with more than 1,000 donated texts to its main collection of 36,000 global books. Most of the newly donated books have been provided by students, faculty members and other friends of the collection. And of the new donations, more than 300 books in Russian came directly from UA faculty members Brenda Frye and Sergey Cherkis.

April 14, 2017
Daily Wildcat: Worlds of Words coordinator finds passion in connecting people with literature

Daily Wildcat Rebecca Ballenger CoordinatorAs Collections and Outreach coordinator at Worlds of Words, Ballenger organizes materials, events and exhibits at the extensive global literature resource center housed in the UA Education building in order to connect the Tucson community with their exclusive collection of global children’s books and artwork.

March 10, 2017
Daily Wildcat: Festival of Books showcases literacy in Tucson

Nestled on the fourth floor of the education building at the UA, the newly renovated Worlds of Words center houses one of the largest collection of global children and adolescent books in the United States. It also hosts many artists and scholars in residence.

January 11, 2017
UA News: Four Questions: Global Citizenship as a Necessity, Not a Luxury

“Four Questions” is an occasional feature in which UANews asks experts from the UA for their perspective on current events or pop culture. WOW Director Kathy Short answered questions about teaching adults as well as children and adolescents about global citizenship through reading.

August 10, 2016
UA News: Campus Spaces Reveal an Array of Art and Collections

The UA’s College of Education Worlds of Words has nearly 100 pieces of original art in the collection, about half of which are on public display in the studio, main space and Mary J. Wong/Grace Lin collections.

July 1, 2016
UA News: Worlds of Words Secures Donation of Original Art from Award-Winning Illustrator

Floyd Cooper DonationIn a collection already bursting with important works by children’s book illustrators, Worlds of Words added one more. The untitled piece from “In the Land of Milk and Honey” by award-winning illustrator Floyd Cooper recently went on display in the University of Arizona collection, housed in the College of Education.

February 15, 2016
UA News: UA Literacy Efforts Strengthen Mexico Communities

The College of Education’s Worlds of Words, in collaboration with Resplandor International, is expanding in Mexico, launching a visiting scholar program in honor of the late Richard Ruiz — and growing its library. Roughly 10 miles outside of Guanajuato, Mexico, sits the home base for Resplandor International, a nonprofit humanitarian organization founded with a desire by those at the University of Arizona to enrich cross-border cultural competency and promote economic development through education.

November 19, 2015
Education Week: Stories and Standards: Opening the World Through Global Literacy Communities

This week a new resource shares strategies and tools to engage students and educators with books from around the world. Kathy Short, director of Worlds of Words and Jennifer Manise, Executive Director of Longview Foundation, share how global stories are effective classroom tools.

July 20, 2014
Barbara Gowan Blog

What is TFOB and WOW? Tucson Festival of Books and Worlds of Words. Both are located at the University of Arizona. The Tucson Festival of Books is a weekend of author spotlights and presentations, kids’ activities, book vendors and displays, top notch entertainment, Science City and much more! In addition to all the festival activities, I had the opportunity to tour the newly remodeled Worlds of Words in the College of Education at the U of A.

March 19, 2014
Lenore Look Blog: Tucson Festival of Books

Kathy and Jerry Short TFOBDear Reader, I just had the most incredible weekend. I went to the Tucson Festival of Books (a k a @TFOB). When you’re an author, you must go to this. Kathy Short is a super-duper VIP in the world of children’s lit. So you can imagine my surprise to find myself seated at her table. And you can imagine my further surprise when the MC mentioned my name as an example of the authors Kathy brought to this year’s festival. Really? Me?

March 3, 2014
UA News: UA’s Unique Children’s Literature Collection Undergoes ‘Extreme Makeover’

The Worlds of Words International Collection of Children’s and Adolescent Literature helps build bridges across global cultures through programming focused on literacy and literature.

November 8, 2012
Arizona Daily Star: Book festival award of $200K going to UA, 2 literacy groups

During the celebration at the UA College of Education, Finland’s ambassador to the United States, Ritva Koukka-Ronde, will award a Finnish language and culture book kit to Worlds of Words, a collection of international children’s and adolescent literature.

January 5, 2012
UA News: Worlds of Words Brings Together Arizona Authors, Children

Housed by the University of Arizona College of Education, Worlds of Words exposes children to different cultures through its collection of international literature. Each month, WOW hosts an event as part of its Book Fiesta program where it invites Arizona authors and illustrators to bring a new book and a writing activity to share with local children. (Video)

November 3, 2010
ALA Connect

The Worlds of Words website provides many useful resources for building bridges between cultures. These resources include multiple strategies for locating and evaluating culturally authentic international children’s and adolescent literature as well as ways of engaging students with these books in classrooms and libraries. Critical annotations are available and can be sorted by geographic region, age or region.

November 2009
Collaborative Inquiry as a Tool to Develop Critical Perspectives on Human Rights

by Aura Gonzalez-Robles and Yu-Ying Hou, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
(originally presented at the 2009 NCTE Conference)

December 2007
Arizona Illustrated – International Books: Developing a Love of Reading

Nearly 30,000 children’s books reside in the basement of the UA Education building. They come from more than a hundred countries, in nearly two dozen languages. The books have made readers out of future teachers, and we can expect them to pass on that love of reading to their students.

December 2007
Education E-News – A Community Triumph

The WOW Open House on December 8 was a community triumph! People came from all over — families, community members, librarians, teachers — people interested in books and people interested specifically in the two traveling exhibitions of children’s and adolescent books from around the world.

December 10, 2007
Tucson Citizen – ICCAL Benefits Local Children: International Book Collection to Benefit Local Children

Read the article…

October 26, 2007
The Wildcat Online – ‘Worlds’ to Browse: Book collection promotes global view.

Read the article…

October 24, 2007
UA News – ‘Best’ International Books Make Debut at the UA: A teaching and research library in the College of Education is promoting the reading of international children’s literature.

Read the article…

October 23, 2007
UA News – Programs Seeks Rare American Indian and Indigenous Books: The effort is an attempt to improve intercultural understanding through the use of children’s books.

Read the article…

2 thoughts on “News

  1. Annette Fiedler says:

    WOW! I would love my 5 year old to participate in these wonderful literature activities, however we do not live in Arizona! This sounds like an enjoyable learning opportunity for any parent, teacher, and child. Thank you for putting together these fantasitic literature events for children of the world.

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