Sato The Rabbit

“One day, Haneru Sato became a rabbit. He’s been a rabbit ever since.” With these surrealist, yet matter-of-fact opening lines, we are transported to a world very much like our own, yet one that is imbued with an added dimension of wonder and curiosity. In Sato’s world, ordinary objects and everyday routines can lead to magical encounters: a rain puddle, reflecting the sky, becomes a window that can be opened and peered through. A walnut is cracked open to reveal a tiny home, complete with a bathtub and a comfy bed. During a meteor shower, Sato catches stars in a net, illuminating the path home for a family taking an evening walk. This whimsical tale is the first in a trilogy from Japan.

The Library Bus

Five-year-old Pari accompanies her mother on her library bus rounds for the first time, stopping at a village and a refugee camp so that girls there can exchange books and have a lesson in English. Talking with her mother as they drive, Pari learns that she is lucky that she can attend school the next year. Pari’s mother had to learn in secret when it was forbidden to teach girls to read, and the young women the bus visits weekly have no other access to education. Inspired by the first library bus to operate in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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.

111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates The Birth Of Every Girl

In a small village in India, a boy grows up to make a huge difference in his community by planting trees to celebrate the birth of every girl. Based on a true story, this book celebrates environmental sustainability, community activism and ecofeminism. This is the story of Sundar Paliwal, who is from a small Indian village ruled by ancient customs.

Beyond Me

In the aftermath of the natural disasters that have struck her country, eleven-year-old Maya is luckier than many. Her family didn’t lose their home, their lives, or each other. But Maya still can’t help feeling paralyzed with terror, and each aftershock that ripples out in the days that follow makes her fear all over again that her luck could change in an instant. As word of the devastation elsewhere grows increasingly grim–tens of thousands have perished–it all seems so huge, so irreparable. Already flinching at every rumble from the earth, Maya’s overcome with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. How can her country ever recover, and how could anything she does possibly make a difference? Before Maya can extend a hand to others, she must dig deep to find the hidden well of strength in herself in this sweeping, searing novel that shows even small acts can add something greater and help people and communities heal.

Home Is In Between

Shanti misses the warm monsoon rains in India. Now in America, she watches fall leaves fly past her feet. Still, her family’s apartment feels like a village: Mama cooking luchi, funny stories in Bangla, and Baba’s big laugh. But outside, everything is different – trick-or-treating, ballet class, and English books. Back and forth, Shanti trudges between her two worlds. She remembers her village and learns her new town. She watches Bollywood movies at home and Hollywood movies with her friends. She is Indian. She is also American. How should she define home

I Dream Of Popo

When a young girl and her family emigrate from Taiwan to America, she leaves behind her beloved popo, her grandmother. She misses her popo every day, but even if their visits are fleeting, their love is ever true and strong.

This book is a WOW Recommends book of the month for September 2021.

Strong As Fire, Fierce As Flame

Meera’s future has been planned for her for as long as she can remember. As a child, her parents married her to a boy from a neighboring village whom she barely knows. Later, on the eve of her thirteenth birthday, she prepares to leave her family to live with her husband’s–just as her strict religion dictates. But that night, Indian soldiers mutiny against their British commanders and destroy the British ammunition depot, burning down parts of Delhi. Riots follow, and Meera’s husband is killed. Upon hearing the news, Meera’s father insists that she follow the dictates of their fringe religious sect: She must end her life by throwing herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.