Literacies and Cultures

Communities in all parts of the world, from rural towns to large urban cities, are increasingly diverse due to global mobility. Rapid economic, social, and technological changes connect people around the globe. No matter where we live, our daily lives interconnect through globalization in its differing forms. Knowledge of the world and an understanding of global perspectives have thus become a necessity, not a luxury. 

One important resource for building bridges across cultures is global children’s literature. Literature provides an opportunity for children to go beyond a tourist perspective of gaining surface-level information about another culture. Literature expands children’s life spaces and takes them outside the boundaries of their lives to other places, times, and ways of living to participate in alternative ways of being in the world. Readers are invited to immerse themselves into story worlds to gain insights about how people live, feel, and think around the world in order to develop emotional connections and empathy as well as knowledge.

What are we doing about it?

The College of Education:

  • Is home to the largest collection of children's and adolescent books in the United States (second largest in the world): Worlds of Words
  • Hosts school groups and teen readers
  • Provides materials on loan to schools, libraries, and literacy groups, such as language and culture book kits, global story boxes, and family story backpacks
  • Collaborates with CERCLL, a federal center on less commonly taught languages at the university
  • Hosts scholarly lectures and celebrations for children and families around new books 
  • Provides a studio space for exhibitions and for residencies for children’s authors and illustrators

Who is doing it?

Associate Director, Worlds of Words, Rebecca Ballenger
Assistant Professor, Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies, Carol Brochin
Assistant Professor, Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies, Leah Duran
Professor, Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies, Iliana Reyes
Professor, Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies, Kathy Short