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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WOW Currents

When Dimple Met Rishi Features a Strong, Female, Tech-y Character

By Dorea Kleker, The University of Arizona

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’m currently living in rural Panama. Our small town of Gamboa is surrounded by rainforest on three sides with the Panama Canal bordering the fourth. Gamboa is also home to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Perhaps I should provide a little context. I am an early childhood educator who lives with two scientists. My husband is a botanist and my 8-year-old son has been obsessed with insects pretty much upon leaving my womb. Gamboa–its many jungles and scientists–is my family’s version of Disneyland.

When Dimple Met Rishi features a young woman making strides in the tech industry. This text set features similar characters, both real and fiction. Continue reading

WOW Currents

Truth Behind Stories in I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

By Dorea Kleker, The University of Arizona

This month’s WOW Currents focuses on four books whose authors will present at the 2018 Tucson Festival of Books: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, When Dimple Met Rishi, The Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus and In the Shadow of the Sun.

Daniel Geffre reads I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez Continue reading

WOW Currents

An Interview with Mary Margaret Mercado: Authentic Picturebook Illustrations

Interview conducted by Judi Moreillon

Part 4: Authentic Picturebook Illustrations

This month, I interview Pima County Public Library children’s librarian and children’s book reviewer, Mary Margaret Mercado. Last week, Mary Margaret responded to questions related to authenticity in picturebook stories. This week, our conversation centers on authentic picturebook illustrations.

Authenticity in Picturebooks Continue reading

WOW Currents

An Interview with Mary Margaret Mercado: Authentic Picturebook Stories

Interview conducted by Judi Moreillon

Part 3: Authentic Picturebook Stories

This month, I interview Pima County public librarian children’s librarian and children’s book reviewer Mary Margaret Mercado. Last week, Mary Margaret responded to questions related to publication practices with a closer look at the author, illustrator and translator’s cultural knowledge. This week, our conversation centers on the authenticity of the story itself.

Esquivel and Grandma's Chocolate Continue reading

WOW Currents

An Interview with Mary Margaret Mercado: Publication Practices

By Judi Moreillon, Literacies and Libraries Consultant

Part 2: Publication Practices

This month, I interview Pima County Public Libraries children’s librarian and book reviewer, Mary Margaret Mercado. Last week, Mary Margaret responded to questions related to her goals and process for reviewing books. This week, we explore publication practices. To guide our thinking, we create a framework from Critical Multicultural Analysis of Children’s Literature: Mirrors, Windows, and Doors by Maria José Botelho and Masha Kabakow Rudman and WOWLit’s “Evaluating Literature for Authenticity.”
Publication Practices Continue reading

WOW Currents

Book Reviewers as Mediators of Children’s Literature: An Interview with Mary Margaret Mercado

By Judi Moreillon, Literacies and Libraries Consultant

Part 1: Goals and Process for Children’s Book Reviews

Children’s book reviewers serve as mediators between newly published children’s literature and those who promote, purchase or use these books. Newspapers and other media that promote children’s books use what book reviewers publish. Bookstores that sell children’s books refer to these reviews. School and public librarians, classroom teachers and families that purchase and share children’s books often rely on published reviews. Book reviewers, therefore, have the responsibility to be competent. Their reviews should accurately address all aspects of global children’s literature, including cultural authenticity and accuracy.
Book Reviewers Continue reading

WOW Currents
WOW Currents

Carve the Mark Brings Awareness to Anxiety

By Grace Fell, The University of Arizona

From a young age, adults told me in a frustrated tone that I am too quiet. They told me I should speak up. I spoke quietly because I didn’t want to speak at all. I didn’t want to talk or look at anyone who I wasn’t absolutely comfortable with. Every day before school I cried because I dreaded the social environment of a classroom. My mother finally agreed to homeschool me to make me happier and more comfortable. Her friends and relatives judged her. They argued that I am just a little shy, that I should get over it. Though I hadn’t been diagnosed yet, I had crippling social anxiety. The lack of empathy from nearly everyone but my mother is depressing.

Carve the Mark Continue reading

WOW Currents

The Continued Relevance of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

By Angel Stone, The University of Arizona

“It is easier not to say anything,” thinks Melinda Sordino, a high school freshman in the book Speak who feels she cannot share her story of rape. In Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel, which will soon release as a graphic novel illustrated by Emily Carroll, Melinda shows us the dangers of hiding our most difficult experiences and the importance of speaking about them openly. Melina is fictional, but the fear she faces is real and can have lasting effects. We hear her story in every corner of our world from high school to entertainment to politics. Each one of us at some point face challenges that we don’t know how to share.

Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll Continue reading