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Reclaiming Social Emotional Learning with Children’s Literature, Part II

By Angelica Serrano, 4th Grade Teacher with Jennifer Carey, School Counselor, Van Buskirk School, Tucson, Arizona

Cover of Outside In depicting a young girl in a red coat walking down a road with a cat. Trees and plants line either side of the road.

James Comer, a leading child psychiatrist once said, “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.”Kyle Schwartz

As a class, we discovered a certain connectedness, a bridge between each of us by exploring the activity “I wish My Teacher Knew…” The activity opened the door for our fourth-grade class to continue to have these conversations as our circles expanded and we realized just how much we each experience outside of the classroom. Now I wondered: how do we internalize this conversation and move forward? This is where we launched our second exploration with another children’s book. Continue reading

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Reclaiming Social Emotional Learning with Children’s Literature, Part I

By Angelica Serrano, 4th Grade Teacher, Van Buskirk School, Tucson, Arizona

A young child sits in the center of multiple circles like tree rings.

“Tú eres mi otro yo, si te hago daño a ti me hago daño a mí mismo; pero si te amo y respeto, me amo y me respeto yo”

“You are my other me, if I hurt you then I hurt myself too, but if I love you and respect you, then I love and respect myself too”

Award-winning playwright Luis Valdez’s poem captures a foundational teaching goal of mine, focused on reclaiming time for social emotional learning during my school day. Clearly the 2020 pandemic continues to impact children’s learning, including how children regulate their emotions and social interactions with others in the classroom. Over the past two years, teachers across the nation have expressed challenges they face through social media and other outlets. Many still see ripples of the pandemic as both students and teachers struggle to create spaces for learning, communication, cooperation, and community building. Continue reading

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Exploring a Fictional Sentience of Two Cats: Haven and Harvey

by Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

A gay striped cat with green eyes looks at the viewer from a circle with grass behind it. Framing the cat is a small picture of a bird, a bowl of soup, a woman with short brown hair, and a dog.As I noted earlier this month, an eco-cosmopolitan perspective is one way to address environmental issues, but it is an equally great way to explore the interconnectedness of all inhabitants of the planet. The definition I used was Heise’s (2008) in which she asserts that eco-cosmopolitanism is an “attempt to envision individuals and groups as part of planetary ‘imagined communities’ of both human and nonhuman kinds” (p. 61). Exploring ways in which humans are interconnected with other inhabitants of the earth has often been highlighted through conflict, specifically self against nature, which is an interesting perspective to take since that stance suggests that humans are not part of nature. What a theme to take on with secondary students! But for this blog entry, I want to highlight the connection between humans and two cats, Haven and Harvey. Both these cats give a fascinating entrée into “imagined communities” of being, in Harvey’s case, untamed or wild. In other words, feral. And for Haven, she must confront the outside world as she attempts to save her human companion. Continue reading

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Books for Exploring the Dignity of the Non-Human World

Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Pax by by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Jon KlassenThe environment has become a critical issue for a majority of people around the world. There are a number of ways to address the issue, and one of those ways is through an eco-cosmopolitan perspective. Eco-cosmopolitanism is “an attempt to envision individuals and groups as part of planetary ‘imagined communities’ of both human and nonhuman kinds” (Heise, 2008, p. 61). In children’s literature, we often get the perspective of an animal or insect. From Peter Rabbit (Potter, 1999) to Watership Down (Adams, 2014) to Charlotte’s Web (White, 2012) to more current texts such as Alice’s Farm (Wood, 2020) and Pax (Pennypacker, 2019), readers are delighted by the antics and/or adventures found within these marvelous examples of non-human creatures interacting in the world. Humorous tales such as the two Skunk and Badger stories (Timberlake, 2020; 2021) make us laugh, while Pax (Pennypacker, 2019), Pax Journey Home (2021) and Charlotte’s Web (White, 2012) can develop empathy for the living things outside the “human” realm. Continue reading

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Rompiendo nuestra burbuja: An International Perspective on Culturally Specific Literature from the United States

Carmen M. Martínez-Roldán, Teachers College, Columbia, New York, Dámaris Muñoz Cataldo and Katherine Keim Riveros, Universidad de O’Higgins, Rancaqua, O’Higgins, Chile

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales, cover art“Rompe nuestra burbuja” were the words that Mariposa (self-selected pseudonym), an eight-grade Chilean student, used when giving her opinion about the benefits of reading stories that explore how people from different cultures live. She revealed, “Porque uno aprende nuevas cosas y rompe nuestra burbuja, nos muestra diferentes realidades de la vida diaria [because we learn new things, and it pops our bubbles. It shows us different realities from daily life].”

Teachers in U.S. classrooms are continuously looking for ways to engage their readers with children and young adolescent literature from various cultures, not only to support students’ reading but also to promote cross-cultural understandings needed to cultivate solidarity. Muhammad (2020) captured this concern in her question: “How will my instruction help students to learn something about themselves and/or about others?” (p. 58). Continue reading

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Korean Picturebook Authors and New Trends in Japan

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

Summer Is Coming Hangul Cover shows line drawing of a girl with a hose spraying perfect water circles.In recent years, increasing numbers of translated and non-translated Korean children’s literature are available to Japanese readers. Yes, Japanese readers read and consume Hangul (written Korean) directly beyond literature experiences (e.g., language learning). We’ve found several major Japanese publishing companies, JBBY (Japanese Board on Books for Young People), bookstores, and public and school libraries feature books by Korean authors and illustrators through social media and physical spaces. Three beloved Korean authors who also illustrate their work influenced Korean picturebooks’ reputations in Japan positively beyond what Japanese audiences are familiar with over the years (i.e., postcolonial texts). In this post, we share three Korean authors, Heena Baek, Suzy Lee and Heeyoung Ko who are among those gaining great popularity in Japan. Continue reading

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Exploring Korea’s Post-Coloniality through Korean Picturebooks Translated into Japanese

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

Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, recently passed away at age 96, after reigning for 70 years. Fourteen countries continue to maintain the monarch as their head of state after gaining independence, despite the collapse of the British Empire in the last century. The death of Queen Elizabeth II could readily accelerate the push by former U.K. colonies to ditch the British crown amid heightened anti-colonial sentiments in the remaining Commonwealth realms (Halb, 2022).

Former UK colonies’ anti-colonial sentiment made us think of colonial histories and facts that are not current hot topics discussed within the global community. Global knowledge of physical outcomes of colonization history is now often romanticized as the beautiful substance of architects, food, festivals, tourism, etc. European countries’ colonial histories in Africa and South America remain aesthetically appreciated based on the historical background of languages, hybrid cultures, diverse ethnicities and educational contexts. Lost are critical perspectives on the colonizers’ past and the colonial indigenous cultures. This leads Junko and I to realize how colonial history among Asian countries is often simplified as Asian history; not knowing who colonized whom in Asia is often a common misperception.

Asian Dragon swoops over landscape to challenge a person in a fieldThis month, Junko and I explore Korean picturebooks translated and published in Japan to analyze colonization patterns in Korea. In 1910, Korea was annexed by the Empire of Japan after years of war, intimidation and political machinations; Japan ruled Korea until 1945, the end of World War II. Until then, Korea was one of Japan’s colonies. During the Korean War that followed, South Korea established strong ties to the U.K. Continue reading

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Searching WOW Center Holdings In the UArizona Library Catalog

The recent release of Disney’s Little Mermaid theatrical trailer made a big splash, and we are here for it! In fact, let’s capitalize on that interest to explore a more global lens on mermaids. In case no one noticed, WOW Dozen recently published a list on Black mermaids and sirens in children’s literature by Desirée Cueto and Dorea Kleker. How about we search the WOW Center shelves to see if we can find additional global mermaid books that may also be of interest to young people inspired by Halle Bailey’s portrayal of Ariel? Continue reading

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2022 Trends in Global Literature: Multilingualism and Language Learning

By Kathy Short, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

A grandmoter in a sari and a girl in pigtails happily embraceThe increasing global mobility and multilingualism of our world are playing out in interesting ways in recent books for children. Some of these books focus on children learning to speak English or on English-speakers struggling to pronounce a child’s name. Still others naturally integrate multiple languages in a translingual book where characters weave additional languages into their dialogue, drawing from the multiple languages they speak and understand. Another trend is an increase in bilingual books with the entire text in two languages. Continue reading

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2022 Trends in Global Literature: Picturebooks about Relationships with Grandparents

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

An open yellow suitcase next to the legs of a young girlThe lack of books depicting contemporary global cultures has been an issue for many years with historical fiction, traditional literature and fantasy dominating the global books published in the U.S. This over-representation of history and traditions often results in stereotypes and misconceptions of these cultures as set back in time or no longer existing in the contemporary world. The recent emergence of picturebooks with contemporary depictions is thus a positive trend in providing books that invite children to make connections between their own culture and global cultures in today’s world. Continue reading