Presented by Kathy G. Short, Dorea Kleker, and Narges Zandi (University of Arizona).

With Julie Kasper (Childhood Education International) and participating writer/illustrator Erika Meza, author of To the Other Side.

May 30-31, 2024, at the University of Arizona


Join us for an IN-PERSON two-day workshop at the University of Arizona, to engage in experiences and books that invite children to immerse themselves in literature about refugee and immigrant experiences!

In this interactive workshop, participants will explore new picturebooks and novels for their work with students and they will participate in engagements with these books. They will also interact with several children’s authors/illustrators who will join the group to talk about their global books. Participants will receive their picturebooks along with booklists and other materials, for use in their classrooms.

This workshop is built around the conceptual framework of journeys as movement along a pathway to examine the forced and chosen journeys in our own lives. Within this frame, the group will explore refugee/immigrant books related to themes of displacement, difficult journeys, detention, belonging, home, language, memory, names, and walls. There will be time to browse books as well as to use dialogue strategies to engage with them. The presenters will also share their work with children around these books. The goal of this institute is to invite children to critically engage with story as a means of making sense of their own lives, and of understanding the lives of children whose experiences differ from their own.

Participants will receive a PD Certificate. Registration is limited to 35 people.

Cost: $30 (includes lunch and materials)

Biographical Details for the Presenters

Kathy G. Short

Kathy G. Short is a Regents professor and endowed chair of global children’s literature in the College of Education/University of Arizona and is Director of Worlds of Words: Center of Global Literacies and Literatures ( She has worked extensively with teachers around the world on literature and inquiry and has authored many books and articles. She served as President of the National Council of Teachers of English and the US Board of Books for Young People. 

Dorea Kleker

Dorea Kleker is an early childhood teacher, educator, and lecturer at the University of Arizona. Working with students and teachers across a wide variety of educational contexts in both the U.S. and Latin America, her work focuses on global and multicultural children’s literature, literacy and play to develop intercultural understanding, and the use of literature to actively engage children as inquirers across all content areas. 

Narges Zandi

Narges Zandi taught elementary school in Iran and is currently a doctoral student in Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies at the University of Arizona.  In Iran, she engaged in academic writing and research aimed at enhancing school education. In her efforts to support equitable education, Narges utilized Autoplay Media Studio software to create projects designed to provide students with equal learning opportunities. 

Julie Kasper

Erika Meza

Erika Meza is an author/illustrator of picturebooks, many set in the borderlands of Mexico/U.S. She is a Mexican migrant who studied illustration in Mexico and Paris and now lives in the UK, where she creates illustrations in ink, gouaches, and watercolor pencilsShe is the illustrator of “My Two Border Towns” by David Bowles and the author/illustrator of “To the Other Side.”  

Travel applications due May 6. Application has closed.

Travel Funding Information

If you would like to attend this workshop but would need financial assistance for travel costs, please apply for a scholarship by the May 6th deadline.

A small number of scholarships are available for fulltime teachers and fulltime graduate students who are located in the USA or Mexico, more than 60 miles from Tucson. These awards contribute to the costs of travel for people participating in both days of the institute. Travel awards include up to $320 in reimbursement for expenses for which the scholarship recipients paid themselves (up to $120 in reimbursement for lodging in Tucson, and up to $200 in transportation costs, i.e., mileage or airfare) for eligible participants.

Scholarship applications must be submitted by the May 6th deadline. We will verify eligibility, and our committee will select recipients before we make award notifications by May 20th. Awardees must submit a reflection about the event, and reimbursements are processed after this has been submitted; details are sent to recipients with the scholarship award notice.

Questions about this event? Contact or

Questions about the scholarships? Contact

This institute is organized and sponsored by the Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy (CERCLL) and Worlds of Words, Center of Global Literacies and Literatures.

Refund Policy: A 50% refund will be given for registration cancellations received by May 13. No refunds will be offered after this date. Please notify us by email (at if you are canceling your registration.

The University of Arizona reserves the right to cancel the institute if necessary; in the unlikely event that cancellation happens, registrants will receive a full refund of their registration fee.