Indigenous Crossover YA/Adult Fiction

Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA

When I taught high school English at a tribal school, the primary class novel I chose was The Round House by Louise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe), winner of the National Book Award for fiction in 2012. Choosing a whole class novel is never an easy task. It should be appealing to everyone (impossible). It should be able to be read and understood by all reading levels in the class (unlikely). It should be important, worthy of lengthy discussion, and worth convincing students that if they just give it a chance, they may like it, and see its worth. Of course, there is also the idea that we shouldn’t read whole class novels at all, allowing students to choose all their own books themselves, thus avoiding the above difficulties. However, for me, there is something deeply pleasurable and vital in having a shared reading experience and community dialogue around this reading.

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Sweeping Indigenous Histories

Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA

In Redrawing the Historical Past: History, Memory, and Multiethnic Graphic Novels, editors Martha Cutter and Cathy Schlund-Vials remind readers of a speech that Toni Morrison gave at Portland State University in 1975 where she said, “No one can blame the conqueror for writing history the way he sees it, and certainly not for digesting human events and discovering their patterns according to his own point of view. But it must be admitted that conventional history supports and complements a very grave and almost pristine ignorance.” This year, after teaching a few sections of a course which, in part, is an overview of Indigenous histories of the Pacific Northwest, I have realized that this ‘pristine ignorance’ is sometimes because of a lack of information, and sometimes because of a strong and willful desire to maintain the settler colonial histories learned as children and throughout life. In my work as a teacher educator, I need to assist non–Indigenous adults in learning history through an Indigenous lens before they are able to bring these important histories to their own students. Children’s literature can be such a valuable resource for relearning histories, even for adults.

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Middle Grade Novels Spotlighting Color-Conscious Casting

Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA

Unlike in elementary school and junior high, I wasn’t quite one of the theater kids in high school. I was always on the edges of the theater crowd. A groupie, maybe. But perhaps I just appreciated the kind of personal expression, creative energy and openness that is often a part of the theater crowd. These days, instead of hanging around the drama room, I like to read novels that hang around the drama room.

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Indigenous Authored Books

Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA

According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, Indigenous authored books for youth being published in the U.S. and Canada have grown from only 6 in 2002 to 38 in 2018. Although having over ten times the number of Indigenous children’s books published is an exciting and promising amount of growth, this number only represents 1% of the total number of children’s books published. This unbalanced number does not reflect the 1.5% of the U.S. population and 4.9% of the Canadian population that have Inuit, Métis, First Nations, and Native American heritage, not to mention the low numbers of Central and South American Indigenous peoples in North America who choose to report as Hispanic without reporting Indigenous heritage.

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Inquiry into Global Nonfiction and Informational Literature: Student Learning Outcomes and Reflections

Judi Moreillon, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

This post summarizes IS445 Information Books and Resources for Youth graduate students’ learning outcomes and reflections. I also included my brief reflection on teaching the course at the end of this post.

Small Group Collaborative Inquiry Projects
As noted in last week’s WOW Currents blog post, IS445 Information Books and Resources for Youth graduate students brainstormed topics and formed five inquiry groups. Topics for two of the five groups made natural connections to global books and resources: immigration and refugees. These topics grew out of the prejudice and discrimination pathfinder I provided as a model for students.

Decorative image of a blue wall featuring a world map with silhouettes of people walking past. Continue reading

Guided Inquiry Design: Explore and Identify Phases

Judi Moreillon, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

The Explore phase of the Guided Inquiry Design (GID) offers learners resources to browse, read or use to stimulate their thinking and prompt sub-questions related to the overarching inquiry question. A hands-on text set of books is one option. Students may also be guided to online resources that may further increase their interest in the overarching inquiry question. A combination of print and digital resources can be especially effective for today’s youth (and graduate students, too). This dip-in strategy is designed to deepen students’ background knowledge before they identify inquiry questions of their own.

Book Jackets for We Are Here to Stay, Enemy Child, Racism and Intolerance, and The Unwanted. Continue reading

Guided Inquiry Design: Open and Immerse Phases

Judi Moreillon, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Before beginning our whole-class Guided Inquiry Design (GID) experience, I shared information about the eight phases of the process. Students also read a chapter from my latest professional book that describes the process in detail. I shared my experience of using the GID with K-12 students and in professional development activities for educators and librarians. I explained the purpose for modeling the process and let students know they would engage in small group inquiry projects later in the course and could also select an inquiry process for a choice project assignment.

Open: Prejudice and Discrimination
The “Open” phase of the GID is designed to stimulate learners’ curiosity, pique their interest, and invite them to join in the inquiry process. Educators often launch this phase by posing a question, problem or dilemma. The Open phase may begin with a read aloud, a selection of media or a short text that hones in on the inquiry topic or theme. The overarching or essential question for the inquiry can also serve as a prompt for connecting learners to the topic and opening and engaging their minds.

I launched our inquiry into prejudice and discrimination by sharing a photo montage of global current events images and brief print from newspaper and website headlines focused on children and teens who currently experience prejudice and discrimination. My goal was to focus students’ thinking on how global prejudice and discrimination impact today’s youth.

Opening slide of Judi Moreillon's presentation Prejudice and Discrimination in the News, link below image
Slideshare Link: Continue reading

Inquiry into Nonfiction and Informational Global Literature Focused on Prejudice and Discrimination against Children and Teens

Judi Moreillon, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

This summer, I taught an 8-week online course, “Informational Books and Resources for Youth.” The students participating in the course were practicing school librarians or preservice school or public library children’s and teen services librarians. We “met” virtually face-to-face in the online classroom 2 hours each week. The primary course objective is for students to identify, curate and present purposeful, relevant, current, accurate, authoritative and inclusive print and digital resources to support collection development and provide curriculum and programming support. Continue reading

Developing Intercultural Competence with OIBs, Part 5: Taking Action to Support Lasting Change

By Susan Corapi, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL

Over the last 4 blog posts, we looked at OIB titles that model different characteristics of an interculturally competent person. This week we look at the desired outcome: actions that benefit all (not just the cultural majority or the people in power) and support lasting change. Children can be amazing agents for change, and the titles this week demonstrate the ways characters take action.

Our natural tendency when we look for change agents is to look at heroes. A 2019 OIB title that fits that “hero” category is Peace and Me, written by Ali Winter, illustrated by Mickael El Fathi. The book profiles many Nobel Peace Prize winners. Some are expected (e.g., Mother Teresa, Malala Yousafzai) but others are less well known (e.g., Jean Henry Dunant, Fridtjof Nansen, Rigoberta Menchu Tum). Each one worked diligently to bring peace in their area of the world. However, this week the focus is more on kids who are not known as heroes and the action that they take, believing that they can have an impact on their world. Continue reading

Developing Intercultural Competence with OIBs, Part 4: Feeling Comfortable Living in the Borderlands Between Cultures

By Susan Corapi, Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL

This week’s characteristic of intercultural competence is hard to “pin down” with good reason because it involves having a flexible mindset. Homi Bhabha, a Harvard professor who has written about this in his essay The Location of Culture (1994), calls it living in the present in the borderlands. He explains that instead of thinking of ourselves as belonging in certain cultures or spaces, we think of ourselves as in between, or the area between categories where things are fuzzy and we are redefining some of our identity. It is a place of tension–no doubt about it. But it is also an exciting place because it is an area of growth. It is a willingness to live in the messy areas instead of feeling the need to define everything in fixed categories. Continue reading