America’s rapidly growing cultural diversity has having wide-ranging effects.  From our laws to our language to our elections, the “great American melting pot” is getting bigger ever day.  As wonderful as it may be, this increasingly complex weaving of the American fabric is also presenting new challenges as we seek to best cover all of our rich and diverse cultures.  This is particularly the case in our schools where we are striving to take the messages of education to a body of students that is more diverse than ever.

To this delicate end, the University of Arizona is on to something hot.  Its College of Education and libraries have teamed up to create Worlds of Words (WOW) - one of the largest collections of international children’s books in the nation.  An almost unparalleled collection of culturally authentic resources, WOW is an invaluable tool for educators looking to reach out to diverse learners in a context and at a level they will understand.

The collection is easily searchable by title, region, age and genre.  There is also a list of recent additions.  Every Wednesday, a new selection from WOW is featured on the site and educators are invited to discuss and comment on it.  WOW additionally offers to excellent online journals: WOW Stories, featuring vignettes written by educators about children’s experiences reading and responding to literature, and WOW Review, which contains reviews of selected books with an eye towards their cultural authenticity.

Worlds of Words is an amazing resource in a nation (and a world) who cultural diversification requires a rethinking of its approach to education.  It is freely available to the public and a true boon to educators and librarians who work with children and adolescents.  Check out their site today and do not miss their blog WOW Currents for the latest news and updates on this fascinating collaboration.

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