A Dozen Books Dealing with Uncertainty, Grief and Loss

Cynthia K. Ryman, California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA

The past two years have been a time of deep introspection for me. When the pandemic began in 2020, around the world everyone was focused on survival. Many did not survive. As the pandemic raged globally, the United States was being torn apart by deep political divides that left many wondering about the survival of democracy in this country. In the midst of this chaos and confusion, the murder of George Floyd ignited international anger and activism in the Black Lives Matter movement. Now the added crisis of war in Ukraine leaves many wondering what this means for the future wellbeing of our global society. As I considered a book list for these times, I decided to share global books dealing with death and grief. Children are deeply impacted by societal and global events and experience intense feelings of uncertainty, grief and loss. Books open the door for discussions around life’s difficulties and the emotions that accompany. The goal of this WOW Dozen is to provide a means for recognizing and beginning to process emotions related to grief and uncertainty. This collection includes books by authors from Argentina, Denmark, Spain, Iran, Great Britain, Asia, India, Norway, Mexico, Canada and the Cree-Métis nation. Each book provides insights on how to begin to process emotions and find a path forward amidst uncertainty, grief and loss. Continue reading

A Dozen Books Celebrating Children’s Voices and Their Impact

Angelica Serrano, Tucson Unified School District, Tucson, AZ

A Dozen Books Celebrating Children’s Voices and their Impact is a set of twelve books, both picturebooks and graphic novels, that embrace and celebrate the voices of children across the globe who have used their voices, creativity and thinking to make a change for themselves and others. This set honors World Children’s Day celebrated on April 30. To commemorate this special holiday, the dozen books selected here resonate the power found within each child as they learn about the world around them and themselves. Children have made tremendous changes for the world and this list commemorates the power that children have within them. We invite you to take a closer look at these books and encourage you to embrace the depicted voices of these children into your hearts as we celebrate their impact on the world. We hope that as you browse through these titles you will be inspired to share them with your children, classrooms, fellow educators and communities so that children’s voices can be known and heard. Children are our greatest teachers and there is so much we can learn from them. It is imperative that we invite children to continue to inspire others with what they have to say. Continue reading

A Dozen Poetry Books

By Deanna Day-Wiff, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

Poetry is all around us and is fun to read aloud and share with children of all ages. Poetry builds literacy skills with its figurative language, different forms and structures as well as its rhythm and rhyme. This past year I had the honor of serving on the NCTE Notable Poetry Books and Verse Novels Committee. I read over 300 titles—individual poems, anthologies, narrative poems, biographical poems and verse novels. The committee discussed the differences between poetry and prose and then chose 30 titles that reflected the Notable Poetry Books Criteria. This WOW Dozen focuses on some of the books that were considered but did not make the 2022 NCTE Notable Poetry Books and Verse Novels list. Nevertheless, children and adolescents will still enjoy hearing or reading them. Why not bring poetry to life in your classroom by sharing more of it in March, April for National Poetry Month and every day? Continue reading

A Dozen Books on Activism

By Deanna Day-Wiff, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

Children and adolescents are taking action and making a difference in their communities and across the globe each day. This WOW Dozen highlights titles around the theme of activism. Each picturebook or novel shows how young people are working for change on causes that matter to them such as: saving a lending library, turning a vacant lot into a natural space for butterflies or creating light for a community in the dark. Other titles may inspire readers to speak up for climate change, demonstrate peacefully or sing for transformation. Reading aloud these titles could encourage K-8 readers to think about the needs or changes in their own communities to change our world. Continue reading