The Sand Elephant

Paul has no one to play with. The sandbox is empty. Or is it?

As he digs and pats the sand, a shape appears: an elephant. Curling up under the elephant’s warm, sandy trunk, Paul drifts off to sleep. But then something amazing happens. The sand elephant stands up, and lifts Paul onto its back!

The sand elephant takes Paul to a wonderful land where incredible sand animals and their children are laughing and playing together. But what will happen when the wind starts to blow and the rain starts to fall?

Stars and Poppy Seeds

As the daughter of well-known mathematicians, Flora loves to count more than anything in the world. She counts all the things around her—the animals, grains of sand on the beach, and letters in her dad’s newspaper. When Dora looks at the Milky Way, she begins to wonder how to count the mesmerizing number of stars. Is it even possible? Is the night sky so full of stars that even all the numbers she knows would not be enough to count them? Dora soon learns that she needs to deal with such a complicated task by starting with the simplest of steps, and who knows, maybe one day she will achieve her dream.

A Serious Thought

One night, a little boy goes to bed, but instead of sleeping, he starts thinking all kinds of thoughts. Dangerous thoughts. Admirable thoughts. Questionable thoughts. Beautiful thoughts … until a very serious thought occurs to him. If Earth is just a tiny marble floating in space, and he is but one child among many living on this marble, what does his existence matter in the grand scheme of things? Deceptively simple black-and-white drawings poignantly illustrate the boy’s journey as he considers this serious thought. This thought-provoking story by Estonian artist Jonas Taul will resonate with anyone who has ever been kept awake at night by life’s big questions.

Laika

Laika was the abandoned puppy destined to become Earth’s first space traveler. This is her journey. Nick Abadzis masterfully blends fiction and fact in the intertwined stories of three compelling lives. Along with Laika there is Korolev, once a political prisoner and now a driven engineer at the top of the Soviet space program, and Yelena, the lab technician responsible for Laika’s health and life. This intense triangle is rendered with the pitch-perfect emotionality of classics like Because of Winn Dixie, Shiloh, and Old Yeller. Abadzis gives life to a pivotal moment in modern history, casting light on the hidden moments of deep humanity behind history. Laika’s story will speak straight to your heart.

A Royal Ride

Empress Catherine the Great, Queen of Russia loved her country, especially the snowy winters. Giant ice slides meant daring drops and thrilling rides for all!

Robinson

Robin and his friends are planning to dress up as pirates for their school’s annual costume party, but instead his mother creates a Robinson Crusoe costume for him, and while the adults love it, his friends are less welcoming.

Symphony for the City of the Dead

In September 1941, Adolf Hitler’s Wehrmacht surrounded Leningrad in what was to become one of the longest and most destructive sieges in Western history—almost three years of bombardment and starvation that culminated in the harsh winter of 1943–1944. More than a million citizens perished. Survivors recall corpses littering the frozen streets, their relatives having neither the means nor the strength to bury them. Residents burned books, furniture, and floorboards to keep warm; they ate family pets and—eventually—one another to stay alive. Trapped between the Nazi invading force and the Soviet government itself was composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who would write a symphony that roused, rallied, eulogized, and commemorated his fellow citizens—the Leningrad Symphony, which came to occupy a surprising place of prominence in the eventual Allied victory.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume 8, Issue 4

Why We Took the Car

Mike Klingenberg is a troubled 14-year-old from a dysfunctional family in Berlin who thinks of himself as boring, so when a Russian juvenile delinquent called Tschick begins to pay attention to him and include Mike in his criminal activities, he is excited–until those activities lead to disaster on the autobahn.

A Photograph as a Momento

The book tells the story of the Armenian diaspora in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, one of the former republics of the Soviet Union. Traditionally, Baku was an international city where many different ethnic groups lived together for centuries. Armenians in Baku were an important part of the community. Historically, there were not many friendships between Muslim Azeri and Christian Armenians, but locally many families peacefully lived next to each other. The main character and the narrator of the book is Margo Manukian, an Armenian girl who grew up in Baku.

See the review at WOW Review, Volume VI, Issue 4