Butterfly Yellow

The day after Hằng arrives in Texas from a refugee camp, she goes in search of her younger brother who was mistakenly taken from her arms to a plane during the fall of Saigon six years earlier. She has carried the heavy guilt of his separation ever since. When she finally finds him, her brother wants nothing to do with her, insisting he does not remember Vietnam. Hằng takes a job on a nearby ranch, determined to find a way into her brother’s memories and life. LeeRoy, an aspiring cowboy, becomes entangled in Hằng’s search for redemption and in the gradual revelation of her deep and painful secret.

Butterfly Yellow is a WOW Recommends: Book of the Month for October 2020.

Featured in WOW Review Volume XIII, Issue 2.

Borders

A boy and his mother refuse to identify themselves as American or Canadian at the border and become caught in the limbo between nations when they claim their citizenship as Blackfoot.

Borders is a WOW Recommends: Book of the Month for January 2022.

Too Small Tola

In a trio of droll stories, award-winning author and storyteller Atinuke debuts an endearing and enduring character with plenty to prove. Tola lives in an apartment in the busy city of Lagos, Nigeria, with her sister, Moji, who is very clever; her brother, Dapo, who is very fast; and Grandmommy, who is very bossy. Tola may be small, but she’s strong enough to carry a basket brimming with groceries home from the market, and she’s clever enough to count out Grandmommy’s change. When the faucets in the apartment break, it’s Tola who brings water from the well. And when Mr. Abdul, the tailor, has an accident and needs help taking his customers’ measurements, only Tola can save the day.

Thao

Even though it’s only four simple, familiar letters long, nobody can ever pronounce Thao’s name. She’s been called Theo, Tail, even Towel! But the teasing names―Tofu, Tiny, China Girl―are worse. Maybe it’s time to be someone else? Thao decides to try on a different name, something easy, like Jennifer.
It works, but only until she opens her lunchbox to find her mother’s Vietnamese spring rolls, gỏi cuốn―Thao’s favorite! Now, it feels a lot more comfortable to be herself.
Simple on the surface, this story inspired by Thao’s own childhood is full of humor, heart, and important ideas of diversity, inclusion, and cultural pride. The story will be instantly relatable to readers who have ever felt different.

Soul Lanterns

Twelve-year-old Nozomi lives in the Japanese city of Hiroshima. She wasn’t even born when the bombing of Hiroshima took place. Every year Nozomi joins her family at the lantern-floating ceremony to honor those lost in the bombing. People write the names of their deceased loved ones along with messages of peace, on paper lanterns and set them afloat on the river. This year Nozomi realizes that her mother always releases one lantern with no name. She begins to ask questions, and when complicated stories of loss and loneliness unfold, Nozomi and her friends come up with a creative way to share their loved ones’ experiences. By opening people’s eyes to the struggles they all keep hidden, the project teaches the entire community new ways to show compassion.

Reservations Required

Seventeen-year-old Lucy Sanchez’s world is turned upside down when her grandmother dies. Nana was instrumental in teaching her how to cook and encouraging her dream to become a chef. More importantly, her kitchen was a safe haven from the dysfunction at home. When Lucy becomes the target of her father’s physical abuse, she is forced to escape sooner than she’d planned. “I’m going to be a chef,” she keeps telling herself while on a bus headed to Los Angeles. Her life changes forever, though, when she sees a help-wanted sign in a restaurant window and impulsively gets off the bus in a small Arizona town. Lucy is thrilled to get the job, even though she’ll start as a dishwasher, working for room and board. When the owners of La Cocina discover her cooking skills, they promote her to assistant chef. Before long, word about her culinary talents begins to spread. But conflict with a jealous waitress and her sleazy boyfriend escalates as they harass Lucy at every opportunity. Is it too much to ask to cook, take classes at the local community college and get to know the cute guy she met there?

Burying The Moon

In Latika’s village in rural India, there are no toilets. No toilets mean that the women have to wait until night to do their business in a field. There are scorpions and snakes in the field, and germs that make people sick. For the girls in the village, no toilets mean leaving school when they reach puberty.
No one in the village wants to talk about this shameful problem. But Latika has had enough. When a government representative visits their village, she sees her chance to make one of her dreams come true: the construction of public toilets, which would be safer for everybody in her village.
Burying the Moon shines a light on how a lack of access to sanitation facilities affects girls and women in many parts of the world.

How Moon Fuentez Fell In Love With The Universe

When her twin sister reaches social media stardom, Moon Fuentez accepts her fate as the ugly, unwanted sister hidden in the background, destined to be nothing more than her sister’s camerawoman. But this summer, Moon also takes a job as the “merch girl” on a tour bus full of beautiful influencers and her fate begins to shift in the best way possible.

Almond: A Novel

Yunjae was born with a brain condition called Alexithymia that makes it hard for him to feel emotions like fear or anger. He does not have friends—the two almond-shaped neurons located deep in his brain have seen to that—but his devoted mother and grandmother provide him with a safe and content life. Their little home above his mother’s used bookstore is decorated with colorful Post-it notes that remind him when to smile, when to say “thank you,” and when to laugh.

Boy, Everywhere

Sami loves his life in Damascus, Syria. He hangs out with his best friend playing video games; he’s trying out for the football team; he adores his family and gets annoyed by them in equal measure. But his comfortable life gets sidetracked abruptly after a bombing in a nearby shopping mall. Knowing that the violence will only get worse, Sami’s parents decide they must flee their home for the safety of the UK.