Reading the World: A Book Group for K-12 Teachers Focused on Global Literature

Read the World: A Book Group for K12 Teachers Focused on Global Literature


4:30 to 6 p.m., Feb. 7, 2024


Brazilian educator Paulo Freire writes, “Reading is not exhausted merely by decoding the written word or written language, but rather anticipated by and extending into knowledge of the world. Reading the world precedes reading the word, and the subsequent reading of the word cannot dispense with continually reading the world. Language and reality are dynamically intertwined” (The Importance of the Act of Reading).

Join the University of Arizona Centers for East Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, and Middle Eastern Studies for our Reading the World book group. Inspired by Freire’s words, we aim to create a space dedicated to educators discussing authentic and engaging global literature for elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. We welcome in-service and pre-service teachers, educational aides, administrators, and librarians.

We meet each month from 4:30-6:00 pm at Revolutionary Grounds Books & Coffee (4675 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ). We welcome your participation whether you've read the whole book or a single page. Monthly attendance is encouraged but not required. These events are free and open to the public. Educators, a certificate of professional development will be provided upon request. 

This Month:

Our February title is the young adult novel, The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera. Higuera will also be at Tucson Festival of Books this year talking about her new book, Alebrijes!!

The Last Cuentista is the winner of the John Newbery Medal and the Pura Belpré Award.

Había una vez . . . 

There lived a girl named Petra Peña, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita. But Petra’s world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children — among them Petra and her family — have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race. Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet — and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinister Collective has taken over the ship during its journey, bent on erasing the sins of humanity’s past. They have systematically purged the memories of all aboard — or purged them altogether. Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, any hope for our future. Can she make them live again? 

Find the book at your local library or preferred bookseller. The Last Cuentista is also available to read for free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. 

If you love the book and want to use it in your classroom, The Center for Latin American Studies has a book set of 25 copies available to borrow through our Lending Library. Email for more details. 

For questions, please contact Katrina Dillon at

This programming is sponsored by the Centers for East Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona through grant funding from the Title VI National Resource Centers program.