WOW Review: Reading Across Cultures

Introduction and Editor’s Note

This issue of WOW Reviews: Reading Across Cultures provides insights into the authenticity of books that share connections for readers and make a powerful statement about the diversity of cultural situations that situate readers within a global community. Grandma and Me and the Flea/Los meros meros remateros and Playing Lotería/El juego de la lotería, both used in classroom vignettes found in WOW Stories: Connections from the Classroom, tell of shared cultural experiences for children whose family and cultures reside both in Mexico and the United States. I Lost My Tooth in Africa presents yet another child whose life experiences move between two countries, in this case Mali and the United States. Healing Water: A Hawaiian Story brings to life a historical fiction account of a teen with leprosy in the 1800’s and familiarizes readers with the not-as-well-known history of this state at a time when it was not part of the U.S. Sweetgrass Basket and Shin-Chi’s Canoe, both stories of the Native American residential schools in Canada and the U.S. during the early 1900’s, provide another historical look at young people who are resilient despite the oppressive situations in which they live. And, what reader has not heard of The Five Chinese Brothers—a book criticized for its lack of cultural sensitivity? The Seven Chinese Sisters presents an updated version of this traditional tale to add to other traditional variants that can potentially delight as well as provide examples of strength and wit. Finally, While We Were Out, set in Korea, is universal in its potential to evoke personal connections with readers of many countries where pets abound.

As you enjoy these reviews and contemplate how they can provide insight into the roles of our young readers in this global community, you will probably make connections to other books that you have read and regard as culturally authentic. Please consider reviewing such titles for readers of WOW Reviews. The current call for submissions is posted on-line along with guidelines for writing these reviews. Additionally, as you read other issues and reviews, you will become familiar with the general format, length, and items to include in a review. Issue IV will consider any reviews that are based on an international or multicultural book as well as reviews related to the theme of “Through the Eyes of a Child: Resiliency and Hope across Cultures.” This theme invites book reviews from all countries to consider how children and adolescents have been portrayed in positions of responsibility, leadership, and survival in countries across the globe. Acceptance of submissions is ongoing as new issues are published quarterly.

Janelle B. Mathis, University of North Texas, Denton, TX

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