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Talking about Audiobook, Videobook, and more: New Changes the Pandemic Brought

Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District, Tucson, AZ


Until the pandemic occurred, my (Yoo Kyung) workout routines barely left indoor facilities. I ran on a treadmill, sweated at a hot yoga studio, and moaned at a pilates studio while something was stretching. Then the pandemic circumstance closed many indoor workout facilities. I needed alternatives so I began running and walking in my neighborhood instead of a treadmill. Thinking back, my audiobook history began with the pandemic just like that. Listening to audiobooks shortened my to-read-stacks while I added my running mileages. When I was listening to David Yoon’s Frankly In Love, I completed a lot of house chores because I kept listening as we often say, “I couldn’t put it [book] down”. It was the exact same feeling. When I needed to mark a passage, the audiobook app let me bookmark with and without my notes. What I appreciate most is that I could do other physical activities while I listen to it so I was able to accomplish multiple tasks that include finishing multiple books. Continue reading

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2021 Global Literature Trends: Books about Activism and Conservation

by Kathy G. Short, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Coer of Rise Up! The Art of Protest depicting a black fist holding a blue paintrbush and an orange paintbrush in front of a red background.
In a time of political division and global uncertainty, despair can be offset by hope through taking action to make a change; a perspective found in global books on activism and conservation. Instead of ignoring global issues or waiting for adults to take action, these books portray the commitment and actions of young people who act to make a difference. These themes go across nonfiction and fiction as well as across ages, providing young people with examples of real people who work for change and with story worlds in which characters act for a cause that matters to them. Continue reading

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2021 Global Literature: Refugee and Immigrant Experiences in Children’s and YA Literature

by Kathy G. Short, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

The cover of In Search of Safety, depicting a black woman staring contemplatively to the right while sitting in a brown room.
The experiences of refugees dominate the national news, most recently images of Central American asylum seekers at the Mexico/U.S. border and refugees from Afghanistan trying to board planes and attempting border crossings into Pakistan. These experiences also dominate children’s and young adult books, especially in the last ten years with many books about Syrian refugees and refugees from Mexico and Central America. The experiences of immigrant families and children are also increasingly depicted in literature, but instead of focusing on trauma, these books focus on children who navigate multiple cultural identities and locations. Continue reading

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2021 Trends in Global Literature for Children and Adolescents

By Kathy G. Short, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Boy wearing headphones looks out a window at European-style houses that cast a shadow of Middle Eastern buildings on the wall behind him..This month, WOW Currents highlights the trends in global books published in the U.S. between Summer 2020 and 2021. The list was created by exploring new books and reading reviews to create an update of the K-12 global reading lists, fiction and nonfiction, to post on the Worlds of Words Center website. This update also provides an opportunity to identify trends and patterns across this annual collection of global books. This post overviews these trends and the weekly blogs over the month of September will examine one trend in more depth with examples of books. Continue reading

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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