WOW Recommends

April 2016

Pax by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Pax, a pet  fox, and 12-year-old Peter have been together for five years from the time Pax was a two-week-old kit. When they are cruelly separated each goes on an odyssey to find each other. This beautiful, magical and heart touching story of a strong bond between a boy and his pet demonstrates how love and determination can overcome overwhelming challenges. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter

May 2016

Salt to the Sea by Ryta Sepetys

Four teens tell of their journey during World War II as the Russian Army pushed Germans troops and refugees away from Baltic countries to the shores of the Baltic Sea where they were herded aboard ships to take them to Germany. When Russian subs sunk their ships, 25,000 of those people were killed. The characters are courageous and become dear as we discover their stories and the result of their ordeal. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter

June 2016

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
The interweaving of four teen’s lives in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1970 will both inspire and break readers’ hearts. How we touch one another and give each other hope –often unknowingly–are the wondrous and magical aspects of this remarkable and well-written story. -Recommended by Holly Johnson

What Elephants Know
July 2016

What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein

Twelve-year-old Nanda Singh (Nandu) is raised on an elephant stable in the southern-most part of Nepal. After he stops the king from killing a tigress, the Palace Wildlife Committee threatens to close the stable and Nandu must rely on fate to ensure that this does not happen. This incredible book offers a rare glimpse into the lives of the Nepalese people and endangered animals who co-exist in the Borderlands jungle. -Recommended by Desiree Cueto

Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian
August 2016

Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian with illustrations by Mike Curato

Worm Loves Worm is a delightful romp of a picture book that explores traditional gender roles in the marriage ceremony. The story demonstrates the silliness of requiring traditional cultural observances for any wedding. The humor in the text doesn’t make fun, but it demonstrates how a wedding can be a celebration that matches the needs and desires of the couple uniting in love. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter

The Pact by Amanda West Lewis
September 2016

The Pact by Amanda West Lewis

Based on actual events, this WWII novel gives readers an inside look at how a German boy became and internally struggled with his role as a member of the Hitler Youth. This is a fascinating read that compels readers to think both about history and current political situations. -Recommended by Holly Johnson

Irena's Children: A True Story of Courage by Tilar J. Mazzeo
October 2016

Irena’s Children: A True Story of Courage, Young Reader’s Edition by Tilar J. Mazzeo, adapted by Mary Cronk Farrell

This book focuses on Irena Sendler, a courageous young woman who, with a network of trusted colleagues, saved about 2500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. With tremendous bravery and personal sacrifice, Irena and her network toiled throughout the war to find safe hiding places for Jewish children from the ghetto who otherwise would have been murdered. The account of Irena’s courage in the midst of terrible inhumanity is an inspiration. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter

Shepherds Crown by Terry Pratchett
November 2016

The Shepherd’s Crown: A Tiffany Aching Adventure by Terry Pratchett
The is the fifth and last fantasy tale about Tiffany, who has grown into a young woman and becomes a powerful and caring Head Witch. The Wee Free Men, six-inch-tall blue men, zesty characters from the previous four books, join Tiffany to battle an invasion of the evil Fairies. Pratchett’s last book is a testimony to his belief that each person must make a difference in her world by helping others. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter

Luis Paints the World by Terry Farish
December 2016

Luis Paints the World by Terry Farish, illustrations by Oliver Dominguez
Nico, Luis’ older brother is off to join the army and see the world. While Nico is gone, Luis decides to paint the world on an alleyway wall in their Latino neighborhood and is joined by his family and neighbors to create a colorful mural. Spanish words and descriptions of Dominican foods are sprinkled throughout the text contributing to the warm sense of community. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter

Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Animal Infographics by Steve Jenkins
January 2017

Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Animal Infographics by Steve Jenkins.
The author/illustrator illuminates fascinating zoological information with infographics that compare and contrast scientific research. For example, one infographic shows that the biomass of all insects on the planet is more than the biomass of any other category of creatures. This book melds, art, science and math to demonstrate how to integrate the curriculum. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner with illustrations by Gareth Hinds
February 2017

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner with illustrations by Gareth Hinds
This brutal account of the turbulent life of Minamoto Yoshitsune comes with a warning: “Very few people in this story die of natural causes.” Yoshitsune is perhaps the most famous warrior in Japanese history and also known for committing seppuku (ritual suicide involving disembowelment). Turner helps readers understand the bloody and betrayal-filled events through relatable speculation, often involving sports and sensory references. The brush and ink illustrations by Hinds include battle maps, helpful details, and family seals on every page. This biography reads like fiction with a thick set of end notes for motivated readers to dive into and so naturally earned a spot as a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. Samurai Rising gives readers a chance to meet the real Yoshitsune, who is often referenced in video games, manga, and movies. -Recommended by Rebecca Ballenger

March 2017

Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson
Sachiko, was six years old when the bomb was dropped on her city. This book tells how she survived when her four siblings did not. The story is heart rendering and is based on five interviews the author did with Sachiko. Maps, photographs, sidebars about the period give more information. Sachiko is a finalist for the National Book Award. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter