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Taking Action to Solve a STEM-related Problem

By Susan Corapi, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL

As a teacher, professor, parent and grandparent, I want children, teens and adults to develop a sense of agency–the belief that they can take actions that will impact their world. So this week we are going to look at global stories of people taking action to solve a STEM-related problem. Continue reading

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Science and Math Books That Are Too Good to Miss!

By Susan Corapi, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL

When I write the WOW Currents blog posts, I try to have a unifying theme for each week, but this week “bamboozled” me! The best I could come up with is “Science and Math Books That Are Too Good to Miss!” So below is a collection of outstanding books that are more than just information–they teach math and science by absorbing facts through narrative-style text and vivid illustrations. These books are great for repeated exploration! Continue reading

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Environmental Sciences

By Susan Corapi, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL

This last month has been marked by new heat records, blamed on climate change. Environmentalists prod us individually and collectively to take action to reverse this change. We are encouraged to use our vehicles less so we emit less CO2 gases. We reduce, reuse, and recycle. Some communities put restrictions on grocery stores using plastic bags in an effort to reduce plastics in landfills. And we can now purchase products that assure us they were made with a high percentage of recycled materials. In fact we can walk on boardwalks at national parks made of recycled bottles and sit on benches made of recycled plastic bags. We can purchase decor made from repurposed objects and mulch our gardens with recycled rubber tires. All of these actions relate to a sustainable use of resources–in other words, how can we use the precious natural resources we have in ways that reduce the “footprint” we leave behind and conserve resources for the future?

Stopping and reversing global-scale damage starts with awareness and the belief that change is possible. This week I want to profile books that raise that awareness or describe actions–both small and large–that people of all ages have taken in order to preserve our natural resources. Continue reading

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Scientists and Mathematicians in Children’s Literature

By Susan Corapi, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL


The last fifteen months have been filled with science and math as we have followed the spread of a new virus and disease that rapidly shifted from localized outbreaks to a pandemic. We watched the race to develop mRNA and viral vector vaccines that were effective in protecting against COVID-19. We have been inundated with scientific diagrams, statistics, infection rates, and percentages of people vaccinated in different parts of the world–in other words, we have been immersed in principles of science and math. So, it seemed fitting to focus WOW Currents in July on global and multicultural books that engage with STEM subjects–science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The titles this week portray scientists and mathematicians from around the world who have contributed to our understanding of their fields. Continue reading

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Reaction to Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam from a Criminologist’s Point of View

By Genisis Luevanos, Taylor Hogan, Saundra D. Trujillo, and Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico

The fourth and final installment of WOW Currents for June features Genisis and Taylor’s reactions Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam. Both women are students majoring in Criminal Justice at NMSU and read the novel as part of their study of criminology theories in Saundra’s Race, Crime and Justice course.

In their reactions, both women convey strong emotional connections to Amal and the circumstances he endures throughout the novel. Genisis questions the idea of hope and reflects on the authors’ writing that humanizes incarcerated persons. Taylor reacts to the scene where Amal realizes that the color of his skin affected how he was perceived in the courtroom. Saundra and Mary reflect on the experience of applying criminology theories to young adult literature in a criminal justice course to close out the final post for June. Continue reading

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Reaction to Juvie by Steve Watkins from a Criminologist’s Point of View

By McKensi Spears, Saundra D. Trujillo, and Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Cover of Juvie depicting empty cells on three levels, with the bottom level holding a young woman in an orange prison jumpsuit replacing the I in Juvie.

The third WOW Currents post in June features McKensi Spears’ reaction to Juvie by Steve Watkins. McKensi, a criminal justice major at NMSU, briefly discusses Labeling Theory and then applies the theory to the novel. McKensi primarily addresses the changes in the behavior of Sadie, the main character, that seem to emerge as labels are placed upon her before and during her time in the juvenile justice system.

Saundra and Mary close out the post with their reflections about the novel and about Labeling Theory. In her reflection, Saundra cleverly connects the labels found in the novel to labels found in songs recorded by Eminem and Billie Eilish. Mary reflects on how Watkins’ personal experiences as a Court Appointed Special Advocate might have influenced the plot of the novel and the idea that discussions about Labeling Theory might facilitate readers’ deeper comprehension of the novel. Continue reading

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Reaction to Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds from a Criminologist’s Point of View

By Trevor Brohard, Saundra D. Trujillo, and Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Using YA literature in the Criminal Justice field is a relatively new approach to exploring criminology theories. Saundra, a Criminology/Criminal Justice professor, and Mary, a Language, Literacy and Culture professor, implemented YA literature into Saundra’s Criminal Justice graduate course, Race, Crime and Justice, to learn if this unique approach could extend students’ thinking about various criminology theories as they applied the theories to YA literature.

This week’s WOW Currents features Trevor Brohard’s reaction to Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. Trevor uses a criminology/criminal justice lens to reflect on various criminology theories related to the intersections of race, ethnicity, crime, justice, cultural and structural contexts within the novel. Saundra and Mary reflect on Trevor’s reaction to close out this week’s post. Continue reading

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Reaction to Illegal. A Disappeared Novel by Francisco X. Stork from a Criminologist’s Point of View

By Kelly Weese, Saundra D. Trujillo, and Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Cover depicts a teenage boy running across a trainyard with a train in the background, backlit by yellow sunlight.

WOW Currents for June will feature reactions to young adult literature from graduate students enrolled in the Criminal Justice Program at New Mexico State University. Using a criminology/criminal justice lens, students enrolled in Saundra’s Criminal Justice course, Race, Crime and Justice examined current young adult literature as a part of their studies. Saundra, a Criminology/Criminal Justice professor, and Mary, a Language, Literacy and Culture professor, were curious to learn if incorporating young adult literature could push students’ engagement with various theories and inspire creativity in students’ ability to apply criminology theories related to the intersections of race, ethnicity, crime, justice, cultural and structural contexts. Continue reading

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Re-Introducing Our Advanced Search Function

By Rebecca Ballenger, The University of Arizona

This month, we take a look at recent updates to our website made possible with help from Longview Foundation. We highlighted our book lists and will discuss our work with UArizona Libraries for digital archiving and preservation of our on-line journals. This week, we share our advanced search function and tips on how to use it to narrow search results.

Top navigation bar with spy glass icon circled. Continue reading

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Website Improvements Include Updated Book Lists

By Rebecca Ballenger, The University of Arizona

With help from Longview Foundation, Worlds of Words spent a year improving our website. Much of this work won’t be noticeable to the average visitor, who is likely less concerned that we reduced the size of our website by a third without losing any content than they are accessing the content. This month, we take a look at some of the noticeable changes, including updating our book lists and resources, re-launching our Advance Search function and partnering with UArizona Libraries for digital archiving and preservation of our on-line journals.

The Longview Foundation logo is the institution name where the O is replaced with a globe gridded on the diagonal. Continue reading