Empty And Me: A Tale Of Friendship And Loss (Persian Edition)

In this touching bilingual Persian-English picture book, a young girl navigates the landscape of grief with the presence of a gentle giant named Empty.

After the loss of her mother, Empty emerges, filling the void left behind with quiet understanding. Initially isolated from her father and friends, the girl finds solace in Empty’s companionship. Yet, as a joyful memory of her mother resurfaces, she begins to reengage with the world. While Empty remains a constant, the girl discovers connections and newfound happiness with others.

Originally published in Iran, this bilingual tale delicately broaches the subjects of loss and mourning, offering young readers a tender exploration of complex emotions. Through its spare yet poignant prose and artwork, the book provides a tangible framework for understanding grief. Its comforting message resonates with readers of all ages, imparting a sense of solace and hope.

Featured in Volume XVI, Issue 3 of WOW Review.

The Bear And The Wildcat

Bear is inconsolable when his little bird friend dies. He locks himself away in his house, consumed by his grief. But one day, when the smell of spring grass comes through his window, he ventures out again, making a new friend who will help him through his grief by reminding him of the beauty he experienced and instilling hope that comes with new friendship. Tender and senstive, The Bear and the Wildcat tells a delicate story of loss, grief, hope and friendship. Originally published in Japan in 2008, now translated into English from the Japanese edition by Cathy Hirano.

The Sea In Winter

After a knee injury sidelines her ballet dreams, Maisie struggles with her new reality as she is no longer able to maintain her ballet training and auditions. While her family is supportive, Maisie knows they do not understand the hopelessness that she feels. Her anxieties soon lead to dark moods that begin to hurt as much as the pain in her knee. She has no interest in the planned family road trip along the coast, near the Makah community where her mother grew up. How can she possibly keep pretending to be strong?

Rez Ball

Debut novelist, Byron Gtaves, tells the story of Tre Brun who finds solace and purpose on the basketball court of the Red Lake Reservation high school team, despite grappling with the persistent ache of losing his older brother, Jaxon, to tragedy. When Jaxon’s former teammates extend a hand of camaraderie, Tre views this opportunity as a chance to honor his Ojibwe heritage and pursue his ambition of leading his team to their inaugural state championship.

Winner of the American Indian Library Association Youth Literature Award and the William C. Morris Debut Award from the American Library Association.

Paati’s Rasam

Malli loved weekends with her Paati. The head massages, the hugs, the engrossing stories, and most importantly, Paati’s delicious, piping-hot rasam. But then, one day, everything changed. And Malli’s world became dark and colourless. No more warm hugs, no more rasam, no more Paati. Can Malli find a piece of her beloved grandmother to hold on to?

Black Bird, Blue Road

In this historical fantasy novel, praised as a “rich, omen-filled journey that powerfully shows love and its limits*” and “propulsive, wise, and heartbreaking,”** Ziva will do anything to save her twin brother Pesah from his illness–even facing the Angel of Death himself. From Sydney Taylor Honor winner and National Jewish Book Award finalist Sofiya Pasternack. Pesah has lived with leprosy for years, and the twins have spent most of that time working on a cure. Then Pesah has a vision: The Angel of Death will come for him on Rosh Hashanah, just one month away. So Ziva takes her brother and runs away to find doctors who can cure him. But when they meet and accidentally free a half-demon boy, he suggests paying his debt by leading them to the fabled city of Luz, where no one ever dies–the one place Pesah will be safe. They just need to run faster than The Angel of Death can fly… (*Publishers Weekly, starred review; **Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

The Musician

In ancient China, a young musician named Yu Boya gained fame for his talents. On the night of the Moon Festival, he encounters a mysterious woodcutter who is also a musician and admires Boya’s most famous song: Lofty Mountains and Flowing Water. Their friendship deepens and Boya vows to play the song for his new friend every year on the festival night. But the next year, upon hearing of his friend’s death, Boya smashes his instrument and never plays again. To this day, the word for “close friendship” means “understanding the music.”

The Blue Bird’s Palace

Natasha lives a simple life with her father, but when she is granted a wish and makes the selfish choice to live in a palace, the guardian of the Blue Forest transforms her into a blue bird and she learns to be grateful and share.

The Tunnel

After something bad happens, a boy feels sad and gray. Mom and Aunt Cheryl try to talk about it, but he feels like running away. So he picks up a shovel and starts digging a tunnel from his room, deep down and into the backyard. Out there, far from the lights of the house, it’s dark enough that he could disappear. But the quiet distance also gives him the space he needs to see his family’s love and start returning home. As he heads back, the journey upward is different. He notices familiar details and tunes into his senses. The tunnel isn’t so scary this time. The boy emerges into his room just as Mom peeks in. When she notices a twig in his hair, he is ready to talk about the tunnel and finds warmth in her gentle acknowledgment: “You came back.” Love, connection, and slow healing, and are full of details that offer a glimpse into the lives of substantial and relatable characters.

Featured in WOW Review Volume XIV, Issue 4.