Baddawi

Baddawi is the story of a young boy named Ahmad struggling to find his place in the world. It explores the childhood of the author’s father from a determinedly boy’s-eye view. Ahmed was raised in the refugee camp of Baddawi in northern Lebanon, one of many thousands of children born to Palestinians who fled (or were expelled from) their homeland during the 1948 war that established the state of Israel. Ahmad’s dogged pursuit of education and opportunity echoes the journey of the Palestinian people, as they make the best of their existing circumstances while remaining determined to one day return to their homeland.

Cecil’s Pride

Known as the King of Beasts, the lion has always been a symbol of strength and courage. But there was one real lion that earned the title of Lion King. He was known simply by name: Cecil. News of his tragic death spread across the globe like wildfire, raising questions to an unprecedented level about our relationship to our animals and our planet. Cecil’s Pride is a tale of resilience and responsibility–a triumph out of tragedy. Discover Cecil’s struggle as a young lion to survive, his rise to power, and his extraordinary alliance with Jericho, his former arch-rival. Cecil is gone, but his legacy lives on. The world knows the story of how Cecil died. This is the story of how he lived.

Be The Change

In this breathtaking companion to the award-winning Grandfather Gandhi, Arun Gandhi, with Bethany Hegedus, tells a poignant, personal story of the damage of wastefulness, gorgeuously illustrated by Evan Turk. At Grandfather Gandhi’s service village, each day is filled, from sunrise to sunset, with work that is done for the good of all. The villagers vow to live simply and non-violently. Arun Gandhi tries very hard to follow these vows, but he struggles with one of the most important rules: not to waste. How can throwing away a worn-down pencil hurt anyone? How can wastefulness lead to violence? With the help of his grandfather, Arun learns how every wasteful act, no matter how small, affects others. And in time he comes to understand the truth of his grandfather’s words: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

My Name Is Jorge: On Both Sides of the River

A collection of 27 insightful poems that illuminates the migrant experience from the point of view of a grade school child from Mexico. Jorge doesn’t want to be called George. He thinks the name sounds strange. “What an ugly sound!/Like a sneeze!” His struggles to fit in result in a friendship with a boy named Tim; a tentative coming to terms with American society; and some degree of sadness when, upon his grandmother’s death, his family must cross the river again.

This book has been included in WOW’s Language and Learning: Children’s and Young Adult Fiction Booklist. For our current list, visit our Booklist page under Resources in the green navigation bar.

A Girl Named Faithful Plum

In 1977, when Zhongmei Lei was eleven years old, she learned that the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy was having open auditions. She’d already taken dance lessons, but everyone said a poor country girl would never get into the academy, especially without any connections in the Communist Party of the 1970s. But Zhongmei, whose name means Faithful Plum, persisted, even going on a hunger strike, until her parents agreed to allow her to go. She traveled for three days and two nights to get to Beijing and eventually beat out 60,000 other girls for one of 12 coveted spots. But getting in was easy compared to staying in, as Zhongmei soon learned. Without those all-important connections she was just a little girl on her own, far away from family. But her determination, talent, and sheer force of will were not something the teachers or other students expected, and soon it was apparent that Zhongmei was not to be underestimated. Zhongmei became a famous dancer, and founded her own dance company, which made its New York debut when she was in just her late 20s.  In A Girl Named Faithful Plum, her husband and renowned journalist, Richard Bernstein, has written a fascinating account of one girl’s struggle to go from the remote farmlands of China to the world’s stages, and the lengths she went to in order to follow her dream.