WOW Currents

Expanding Reading Boundaries: Mixing Manga with Culturally Diverse Children’s Books

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

Graphic novels are entertaining for teachers and students. Lately we see more teachers adopt graphic novels in their classrooms. Manga may not be the same. Manga have a wide range of volume numbers and often have long series. Many teachers may not be able to monitor the entire volume sets in their busy schedule. We wonder what will happen if manga are mixed with other children’s books, specifically culturally diverse books. I, Yoo Kyung, often observe that students don’t always grab multicultural books when they have other choices (even in Albuquerque, “the Land of Enchantment”.) Book covers with different ethnic groups are not always their passion. Mixing manga within a text set may interest students in multicultural books through common themes and topics, not by category of “diverse” books. Intertextuality pursued by themes and topics attract students to read.

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MTYT: The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!

To wrap up October’s My Take/Your Take, we discuss The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! by Carmen Agra Deedy. In a town where silence is law, a rowdy rooster enters the scene and demands to be heard. We will discuss how this playful picturebook illustrates individuality, voice and opposition in relation to the other stories we’ve explored this month.

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MTYT: All American Boys

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely is a story that focuses on the relationship between Quinn, a white boy, and Rashad, an African American boy who is violently beaten by a white police officer. This week, we discuss the racial issues of this book and how they relate to society today. We will also discuss how bullying in this book compares to what we observed in The Hate U Give and Wolf Hollow.

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MTYT: Wolf Hollow

This week, we look at Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk, a story focused on bullying and friendships in a rural Pennsylvania town in 1943. We will also compare and contrast this book with last week’s book, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Both books contain elements of bullying, abuses of power, and the choice to do what is right. However, these books also have a number of differences worth discussing.

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MTYT: The Hate U Give

Copy of My Take _ Your Take Website Headers-7 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is a powerful young adult novel that centers on the death of Khalil, an African American teenager who is shot by police after a traffic stop. Starr Carter, a witness to the shooting, frames the story as she watches the chaos and controversy erupt from Khalil’s death. Starr is caught in the middle of a conflict: she must either speak out about what she saw, or let the rumors speak for themselves. It’s a book full of controversy, tension, community and heart that takes a long look at relevant issues and movements, including the Black Lives Matter movement.
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MTYT: Continuation through Adaptability and Change in Children’s Literature Epilogue

For this final week we wrap up talking about continuation through adaptability and change in children’s literature. In the last few weeks, we talked about The Tree in the Courtyard, My Grandfather’s Coat, and Seven and a Half Tons of Steel. Here, Dorea Kleker and Seemi Aziz discuss how all three books tie into continuation in children’s literature.

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MTYT: Seven and a Half Tons of Steel

This brief but powerful non-fiction text projects the journey of continuation onto a steel beam from the World Trade Center. The beam lives on, becoming an integral and enduring part of the warship USS New York in the aftermath of September 11. The Governor of New York donates the steel beam and it is driven to a Louisiana foundry where the USS New York is being constructed, and the beam becomes its bow. Ten years after 9/11, it makes its way back to New York on September 11, 2011.

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MTYT: My Grandfather’s Coat

Written by Jim Aylesworth and illustrated by Barbara McClintock, My Grandfather’s Coat is an adaptation of a Yiddish folk song that weaves a tale of immigration and continuation in a new land. This retelling is full of joy, with a rhythm and rhyme that excites readers young and old. The story follows a single coat as it transforms and changes shape over the years, becoming something brand new. The song is also present in Simms Taback’s Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (Viking, 1999) and Phoebe Gilman’s Something from Nothing (Scholastic, 1992) and is reimagined once more in this charming picture book.

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MTYT: The Tree in the Courtyard

My Take Your Take September
This month, Dorea Klecker and Seemi Aziz explore three picturebooks that feature the theme of continuation and the complex layers in which it may be interpreted, including adaptability and change. In the coming weeks, Dorea and Seemi will discuss My Grandfather’s Coat by Jim Aylesworth and Barbara McClintock and Seven and a Half Tons of Steel by Janet Nolan and Thomas Gonzalez. The conversation begins with The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window by Jeff Gottesfeld and Peter McCarty.

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MTYT: Lion Island

For this final conversation around “Rethinking conceptual otherness in history: Exploring untold histories in the U.S. and global communities,” Michele Ebersole and Yoo Kyung Sung give their takes on Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words by Margarita Engle. They began the discussion with A Diamond in the Desert by Kathryn Fitzmaurice, Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxua and Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner.

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