Spring 2018 Webinar Series

Reading Across Cultures


Once a month, the World Area Book Awards will sponsor a 60 minute webinar on a book recognized by one of the awards and facilitate a discussion with the author on how to incorporate the book into the classroom. The spring webinar series focuses on social justice. We encourage you to read the books with your colleagues, students, and community, and then join us to hear more from the author.  The books are appropriate for students in grades 7-12.  If participating in all four webinar sessions, participants will receive a certificate of completion. Be sure to join the conversation with our webinar hashtag #2018ReadingAcrossCultures. All sessions are free and open to the public. All times listed refer to Central Standard Time (CST). Sponsored by the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs, the South Asia National Outreach Consortium, the Middle East Outreach Council, and African Studies Outreach Council.


FEBRUARY 8, 2018
The Américas Award explored the diversity of Latin America by focusing on Cuba with award winning author, Margarita Engle. Engle, the national Young People’s Poet Laureate discussed her book Lion Island and shared teaching and discussion ideas to explore the story of Antonio Chuffat, a young man of African, Chinese, and Cuban descent who becomes a champion for civil rights. We discussed the historical context and learned more with the author and Associate Director of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies and founder of the Américas Award, Julie Kline. This webinar was sponsored by the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs with additional support from Tulane University’s Stone Center for Latin American StudiesFlorida International University and The University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies.



MARCH 12, 2018
The South Asia Book Award held a conversation  with  Padma Venkatraman, author of Island’s End. Island’s End explores issues of cultural identity and activism in the Andaman Islands. Venkatraman discussed her inspiration to tackle issues such as gender equity, leadership, and environmental stewardship. We explored ways of incorporating these themes in the classroom and wider community.


APRIL 26, 2018


The Middle East Book Award is pleased to present during National Arab American Heritage month a conversation with award-winning author, Ibtisam Barakat on her book Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine, an enlightening look at the not often depicted daily life in a politically tumultuous area. Barakat will discuss a life full of challenges that inspired defiance and creative ways of finding solutions. Join us as we discuss human rights, gender equality, and the power of words to take us and our thoughts to faraway places.

Qatar Foundation International (QFI), in partnership with the Middle East Outreach Council (MEOC), is pleased to offer its Educator Book Program which will provide K-12 educators with the opportunity to obtain up to three classroom sets of books recognized by the Middle East Book Awards, including “TASTING THE SKY, A Palestinian Childhood” and “BALCONY ON THE MOON, Coming of Age in Palestine” by Ibtisam Barakat, as well as other MEOC winning books. Click here for more information.

mzungu boy

MAY 17, 2018

The Children’s Africana Book Award explores the nature and brutality of British colonialism in Kenya with Meja Mwangi, author of CABA winner Mzungu Boy. “The novel is set in the early 1950s as the MauMau movement was gathering strength in the “White” Highlands. When the boy Kariuki meets “mzungu” (white guy), the grandson of the plantation owner, the story takes off. As the boys become closer friends, their surrounding world becomes more fearful and violent. Still, the two boys try to have fun together and understand each other’s strange ways. Readers will learn much about the nature and brutality of colonialism from this novel and its effect on ordinary people” (Barbara Brown). “Mwangi’s work won the prestigious Deutscher Jugendliteraturepreis by winning the hearts and minds of both youth and adult jury members, no small accomplishment.” (Lori Walker).  Sponsored by the African Studies Outreach Council.


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