WOW Currents

In the Shadow of the Sun: Understanding Complex Identities

By Dorea Kleker, University of Arizona

Google “North Korea” right now and a flurry of presidential tweets and news stories of missiles is surprisingly absent. This week, the Olympics overwhelmingly trump (pun intended) impending war and dangerous egos. The top three hits include an Australian Kim Jong-Un impersonator, the North Korean Olympic delegation and 229 members of the North Korean cheerleading squad. On the surface, they’re light stories. Read beyond the headlines and the deeper issues persist: dictators, brutal regimes, extreme human rights abuses and nuclear threats.

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MTYT: Back to Front and Upside Down

In this week’s My Take/Your Take Mary, Christopher and Leslie share their takes on Back to Front and Upside Down by Claire Alexander. The story begins with a morning visit from the school principal, Mr. Slippers, to Stan’s kindergarten classroom. It’s Mr. Slippers birthday and he invites the class to his birthday party that afternoon. Stan’s troubles begin when he tries to write “Happy Birthday” on a card for Mr. Slippers. The letters come out muddled and Stan is afraid to ask Miss Catnip for help. After some encouraging words from his classmate, Mimi, Stan asks for help. With instructions from Miss Catnip, Stan practices and practices and practices until he can write the letters conventionally on Mr. Slipper’s card. The story closes with Stan proudly telling Mr. Slippers that “I wrote it all by myself” (Alexander, 2012, n.p.).

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MTYT: Emmanuel’s Dream

Just say “award-winning book” to a group of children’s and adolescent literature enthusiasts and listen to the many, various takes each offer to the conversation! But what happens when preservice teachers in the novice stages of exploring children’s and adolescent literature share their take on award-winning picturebooks? This month Mary (an enthusiast), Christopher and Leslie (preservice teachers) share their takes on Schneider Family Award winning picturebooks. The perspectives for this month’s My Take/Your Take clearly show that regardless of the depth of knowledge one has about picturebooks, everyone has their own take on its merits. We begin with a discussion of Emmanuel’s Dream by Laurie Anne Thompson and Sean Qualls.

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MTYT: Little Fox In the Forest

While serving on award committees, we took notice of books published in 2017 that feature foxes as characters. Throughout January, we looked at a few of these books to see how, or if, authors and illustrators reflect some of the more traditional and cultural views of foxes or if this is a new generation of perceptions of foxes. This week we give our takes on one final book. We started with The Fox and the Wild, then looked at The Fox Wish, also discussed Pandora and last week we give our takes on The Secret Life of the Red Fox. This week we discuss Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin.

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MTYT: The Secret Life of the Red Fox

Throughout January, we discuss the representation of foxes in recently published children’s books. This became our focus as we served on literature award committees and noticed so many picturebooks about foxes piqued our interest. We wondered if this representation or characterization of the fox changed from the traditional portrayals of foxes. This is our fourth book to give our take on this month. We started with The Fox and the Wild, then looked at The Fox Wish and discussed Pandora last week. This week we give our takes on The Secret Life of the Red Fox by Laurence Pringle and Kate Garchinsky.

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MTYT: Pandora

Last week we mentioned that those of us who serve on literature award committees noticed recent picturebook releases about foxes piqued our interest. We wondered if this representation or characterization of the fox had changed from the traditional portrayals of foxes. Are fox characters more empathetic? We started with The Fox and the Wild and then looked at The Fox Wish. This week we give our takes on Pandora by Victoria Turnbull.

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MTYT: The Fox Wish

As we mentioned last week, several of us serve on literature award committees and noticed that in 2017 publishers released interesting books about foxes. We wondered if the representation or characterization of the fox had changed from the traditional portrayal as a sly personality in trickster tales, classics or modern tales. Are fox characters more empathetic? Last week we looked at The Fox and the Wild. This week we take on The Fox Wish by Kimiko Aman.

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MTYT: The Fox and the Wild

Several members of our group serve on literature award committees and noticed that in 2017 publishers released some interesting books about foxes. We wondered if the representation or characterization of the fox changed from the traditional portrayal as a sly personality in trickster tales, classics like Aesop’s Fables, Pinocchio and Three Little Pigs, or modern tales like Fox (Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks) and Rosie’s Walk (Pat Hutchins). Are fox characters more empathetic in recent publications such as Pax (Sara Pennypacker and Jon Klassen)? In week 1, we discuss The Fox and the Wild by Clive McFarland.

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