Spring 2022

Sponsored by the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs, the South Asia National Outreach Consortium, the Middle East Outreach Council, and African Studies Outreach CouncilThe National Consortium for Teaching about Asia.  To view past webinars, please click here.

February 3, 2022
Children’s Africana Book Awards

Idia of the Benin Kingdom, authored by Ekiuwa Aire & illustrated by Alina Shabelnyk, introduces the life of Queen Idia of the ancient kingdom of Benin (located in present-day Nigeria). Queen Idia played an important role during the reign of her son who ruled Benin from 1504-1550. This story tells of a young Idia who pursued her dreams, believed in herself, and became the first Queen Mother of Benin.  Ekiuwa Aire was born and raised in Benin City, Edo, Nigeria. She moved to England when she was nine and it was here, away from all she had grown up with, that she discovered her passion for writing. Ekiuwa co-wrote her first book while finishing high school and continued developing her craft while earning a Bachelor of Economics and a Master of Business Administration. She is passionate about African history and incorporates the richness of many cultures into her books. When she encountered difficulty finding a publisher for Idia she self-published.  The picture book is a  2021 CABA Best Book.

March 222022
South Asia Book Award

A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi (Quill Tree Books, 2020). Mimi is spending the summer in Karachi and learns about the city and the culture through the eyes of Sakina, who works at Mimi’s grandparents’ house. Sakina wants to attend a school and needs to improve her English, and helps Mimi find her dad.  A heartfelt and delightful book about two girls from different worlds, of friendships and families.

April 13, 2022
Américas Award

Family separation and childhood resilience is at the center of Efrén’s story. Ernesto Cisneros’ debut book Efrén Divided (2021 Américas Award Commended Title) follows a boy whose life changes from day to night when his mom is deported back to Mexico. Efrén’s amá is his soperwoman, an endearing term inspired by the delicious sopes (fried masa with topics) that she often makes for Efrén and his younger siblings, twins Max and Mia. Efrén is very conscious of the sacrifices his parents make to provide for their family, seeing his apá and amá work all day to make ends meet. Living through 4 ICE raids in his immigrant community, Efrén cannot help but fear what would eventually come true, being separated from one of his parents. Cisneros visits a harsh reality for many kids in the US, the fear of separation followed by the uncertainty of ever returning to a united family. Efrén faces his difficult situation with the hope that he can work for something greater that would benefit his community and inspired by his mom, become “soperboy.” (Grades 3-7).

May 18, 2022
Freeman Book Award

Join us as we explore the book, While I was Away by Waka T. Brown (2021 Honorable Mention Freeman Book Award). When twelve-year-old Waka’s parents suspect she can’t understand the basic Japanese they speak to her, they make a drastic decision to send her to Tokyo to live for several months with her strict grandmother. Forced to say goodbye to her friends and what would have been her summer vacation, Waka is plucked from her straight-A-student life in rural Kansas and flown across the globe, where she faces the culture shock of a lifetime. In Japan, Waka struggles with reading and writing in kanji, doesn’t quite mesh with her complicated and distant Obaasama, and gets made fun of by the students in her Japanese public-school classes. Even though this is the country her parents came from, Waka has never felt more like an outsider. If she’s always been the “smart Japanese girl” in America but is now the “dumb foreigner” in Japan, where is home…and who will Waka be when she finds it? View the recording by clicking here.

June 16
Middle East Outreach Book Award

Join us to explore The Library Bus by Bahram Rahman. Author Bahram Rahman grew up in Afghanistan during years of civil war and the restrictive Taliban regime of 1996-2001. He wrote The Library Bus to tell new generations about the struggles of women who, like his own sister, were forbidden to learn. Award-winning illustrator Gabrielle Grimard’s pensive and captivating art transports the reader to Afghanistan in the time after the Taliban’s first regime. Her rich landscapes and compelling characters celebrate literacy, ingenuity, and the strength of women and girls demanding a future for themselves.

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