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Picturebooks that Celebrate!

By Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH


This week needs a celebration, and these three books answer the call! We have Hands Up! (2019) by Breanna J. McDaniel and Shane W. Evans, The Tale of Rabbit and Coyote (1998) by Tony Johnston and Tomie de Paola, and Birrarung Wilam: A Story from Aboriginal Australia (2020) by Aunty Joy Murphy, Andrea Kelly, and Lisa Kennedy. These books celebrate three cultures that have historically been underrepresented in literature for young people, and all make great read alouds for younger children as well as mentor texts for older readers. Continue reading

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Novels that Present the Journey

By Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Cover of Santiago's Road Home, depicting a young boy, and little girl, and a young woman on a yellow road leading into the distance away from houses in the foreground.
This week, I would like to talk about several novels in WOW Currents for 2020 that present a journey. Santiago’s Road Home by Alexandra Diaz, Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai, Beast Rider by Tony Johnston, The Blackbird Girls by Anne Blankman, and Under the Broken Sky by Mariko Nagai. All are amazing stories of young people who make a journey for a variety of reasons. Continue reading

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A Review of the Recommended

By Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

As 2020 comes to an end, I wanted to review the books on the “World of Words Recommends” list as a way to reconsider great books we might have missed while addressing what can only be considered an unprecedented year. It has been a memorable and challenging year, and it would be unfortunate to miss these notable books. Over the next few weeks, I will address small batches of these books in different ways, but this week is the time to look at them as a whole group. We had 11 recommendations this year, with a mixture of novels and picturebooks that would meet the interests of so many readers. When you have some time, find your way to these books. They are worth the read! Continue reading

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Poet Laureate Projects from the Library of Congress

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

This week WOW Currents makes a slight change from featuring resources available from independent publishers to featuring Poet Laureate Projects sponsored by the Library of Congress. Teachers and families can access poetry projects and interactive ideas from eight Poet Laureates including Tracy K. Smith, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Joy Harjo, the current Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. Continue reading

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Literacy Resources Available through Cinco Puntos Press

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

This week WOW Currents features teacher and family literacy resources available through Cinco Puntos Press, an independent publishing company located in El Paso, Texas. Bobby and Lee Byrd, owners and publishers, opened Cinco Puntos in 1985 and have been publishing “great books which make a difference in the way you see the world” ever since. Continue reading

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Enchanted Lion Books

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces NM

This month WOW Currents features literacy resources that educators and families can bring into their virtual learning spaces. This week WOW Currents focus on The ELB Book Club, and Instagram resources available from Enchanted Lion Books. In a recent interview with Claudia Zoe Bedrick, the publisher, editor and art director of Enchanted Lion Books, I asked her to talk about the resources available to educators and families. Continue reading

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Imagination Fridays

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

Each week in November, WOW Currents will feature an online resource that teachers and families can access to support literacy instruction in their virtual learning spaces. This week’s post features Imagination Friday hosted by Worlds of Words: Center of Global Literacies and Literatures and Tucson Festival of Books. WOW offers many amazing resources for teachers and families, and Imagination Friday is no exception. Continue reading

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Creating Literature-Based Digital Classroom

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

In our school district (Tucson Unified School District (TUSD)), in this unusual time, “Bitmoji Classroom” is one of the hottest educational tools among teachers, especially Grades K-5, for distance learning. A bitmoji (personal avatar) classroom is an interactive virtual classroom that bridges virtual and hands-on learning to keep students engaged. It makes resources, such as a school calendar, books, and activities, easily accessible to students and provides them with a sense of virtual familiarity and stability. Continue reading

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Locating Resources on Global Children’s and YA Literature

By Kathy Short, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Many authors, illustrators, publishers and literacy organizations offer valuable resources during this time of mandated on-line learning. An ongoing issue, however, is that only a few of these resources highlight global literature, books set in global cultures outside of the U.S. Our goal for this website is to support educators and families in engaging readers with global literature to encourage intercultural understanding across cultures. If you are a teacher educator searching for on-line readings and book lists for your courses or a teacher creating new inquiry units that are global in focus, the following resources can support your work. You can also use these features as examples for students to create their own reviews, vignettes or book recommendations. Continue reading

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2020 Global Books: Trends in the Portrayals of World War II

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

Cover of Under the Broken Sky which depicts two young Japanese girls carrying backpacks and embracing each other, looking out to the viewer on a background of desert and blue sky.Books about World War II continue to trend in global literature for children and adolescents. The 2020 global reading lists contain many books for middle grade and young adult readers that reflect on-going interest in this time period. The majority are historical fiction and focus on World War II events in Europe, but a new trend is historical fiction that focuses on events in Asia. Continue reading