WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Frankly In Love

Cover of Frankly In Love is yellow with blue-green 3D lettering and text onlyFrank Li is, in many ways, like any boy at his high school. He has a best friend and a great desire to have a girlfriend. His best friend is Black, which produces discomfort with his traditional Korean parents, and Frank’s new girlfriend is also non-Korean. Frank, fearful of becoming a pariah like his older sister, hides his relationship from his parents, but soon hatches a plan to work with Joy, one of the “Limbos” who also has traditional Korean parents and a boyfriend who is non-Korean. Joy and Frank “date” one another, which frees them to meet with their respective love interests. This arrangement has its drawbacks. As Frank negotiates his identity as both Korean and American, and all the issues that come with being a savvy teen living in a home that falls back on old prejudices and biases of race and ethnicity, Frank’s story is imbued with humor, profound insights and adolescent sensibility that produces an enjoyable and realistic experience that both delights and challenges readers. -Recommended by Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati Continue reading

Fantasy and Science Fiction for the Adventurous Reader

Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

This week, let’s take a look at three books that reside outside of our current reality, but have real potential for informing us about the world! Two pieces of fantasy were recommended this year, and one piece of science fiction made it to the list (in December). I will start with the stunning fantasies and then finish this with a look at a gangbuster piece of science fiction. Continue reading

Reviewing the Year

Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

The Cardboard KingdomAs 2019 comes to an end, taking a second look at the books members of the WoW community recommended over the past year is a good way to see where we’ve been, and perhaps take a look at where we are going. WoW Recommends is a monthly book recommendation a member of the WoW community believes others should not only know about, but READ! Typically, the recommended books are published within the last two years, and are considered a must for global readers. Continue reading

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MTYT: I Just Ate My Friend

Jean Schroeder, The IDEA School, Tucson, AZ and Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

HOLLY: We end our discussion this month on a lighter note with the picturebook, I Just Ate My Friend (2017) by Heidi McKinnon. Turning our theme, “connections across differences creates community,” on its head, this charming picturebook is about looking for a sense of belonging but such connection involves a huge risk. Noting that not only has the character eaten his friend, he admits that his friend was a good friend, but now is gone. The play on words just made me laugh! In search of another friend, he is dissuaded from becoming friendly with others who offer a variety of reasons for why they cannot be friends. Finally, he meets someone who says they will be his friend, ultimately in a way similar to how he was a friend. I mean, really, one can expect no less! I found myself thinking, “Yep, cannot eat your cake and have it, too!” What did you think of this, Jean?

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MTYT: Lubna and Pebble

Jean Schroeder, The IDEA School, Tucson, AZ and Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

HOLLY: So, after Angel Thieves and The Season of Styx Malone, I can’t help but think about other relationships that might be considered strange on the surface, but on second glance create connection and hope. Another such narrative is the picturebook, Lubna and Pebble (2019) by Wendy Meddour and illustrated by Daniel Egnéus. Lubna, a young refugee, has a friendship with a pebble. She talks to it, carries it with her and finds comfort in its presence. There are profound concepts in this book that include a sense of human connection to the earth as well as the concept of the solidity of a rock, or in this case a pebble, which is appropriate for so young a child. The earth gives us our footing. We are, after all, earthlings! Lubna finds Pebble when she and her father arrive on the beach of a new country. I think of Syrian refugees crossing from Turkey to Greece and finding themselves in “a World of Tents.” Lubna is lost in thinking about her homeland, the war, and her brothers. Pebble becomes a connection and is Lubna’s best friend. Then one day, Amir, another young refugee, arrives at the camp. Amir and Lubna become friends until the day Lubna leaves because she and her father have found a new place to live. Suddenly, Pebble’s role in Lubna’s life shifts. I cannot help but think of how some relationships are strong but only temporary, yet in that limited time and space, connections and hope still form. What did you think of Lubna and Pebble, Jean?

MTYT Lubna and Pebble Continue reading

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MTYT: The Season of Styx Malone

Jean Schroeder, The IDEA School, Tucson, AZ and Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

We all know of particular relationships that make others wonder how they work. This month we will explore four books that feature unusual relationships that make us scratch our heads and ask how on earth they work. But somehow they do, and when they do intriguing communities come into being giving us hope. Jean Schroeder and Holly Johnson continue their discussion of these relationships through books that highlight them.

MTYT The Seasons of Styx Malone Continue reading

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MTYT: Angel Thieves

Jean Schroeder, The IDEA School, Tucson, AZ and Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

MTYT November 2019

We all know of particular relationships that make others wonder how they work. The republican married to the democrat or the cat whose two best friends are ducks. This month we will explore four books that feature unusual relationships that make us scratch our heads and ask how on earth they work. But somehow they do, and when they do intriguing communities come into being giving us hope. Jean Schroeder and Holly Johnson discuss these relationships through books that highlight them.

MTYT Angel Thieves Continue reading