WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Bronze and Sunflower

This December WOW Recommends Bronze and Sunflower written by Cao Wenxuan and illustrated by Meilo So as our book of the month. The book won the Hans Christian Anderson award in 2016 and is translated from Chinese into English by Helen Wang. Wenxuan is a best-selling author for children in China and a philosophy professor at Peking University. Bronze and Sunflower is set during the Cultural Revolution in China. Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: All the Way to Havana

All the Way to Havana by Margarita EngleThe colorful picturebook, All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle with illustrations by Mike Curato, is set in modern day Cuba. It focuses on a family celebration and how Cuban resourcefulness keeps American cars from the 1950s running. A boy narrates the trip his family takes from the country to Havana in their precious old car, Cara Cara, a 1954 Chevy. Before they can take off, Papa and his son have to fix the car. They try and try to fix the silly noises. “The rattling parts have ben fixed with wire, tape and mixed-up scraps of dented metal.” Finally, “Cara Cara once again begins to sound like a chattering hen!” Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Refugee

WOW Recommends Refugee Refugee by Alan Gratz is a poignant, unforgettable novel that effectively interweaves the stories of three 11 and 12-year-old refugees. Josef flees from Nazi Germany to Cuba in 1938, Isabel flees from Cuba to the U.S. in 1994, and Mahmoud flees from Syria in 2015. Their traumatic journeys across landscapes of danger and their sacrifices highlight struggles of freedom and responsibility. This hard-hitting novel thoughtfully raises global and intergenerational issues and invites empathy for those involved in current refugee crises. This is a book that will reverberate in your mind long after you put it down. -Recommended by Kathy Short at the University of Arizona Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: When Dimple Met Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandyha Menon When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon is like any other YA Rom Com with one exception–the relationship is traditionally arranged. Dimple and Rishi are Indian Americans whose traditional (for the U.S.) parents set them up for marriage, only Dimple doesn’t know this. When Rishi decides to meet cute by introducing himself to Dimple as her future husband, she tosses her coffee on him and flees in panic. The story fits YA romance in that Menon offers a “happily for now” ending. The reader does not feel locked into the relationship for life, but sort of hopes for a “happily ever after.” Dimple is relatable and Rishi is hella likable; together they are unstoppable. When Dimple Met Rishi is a fun story that demystifies stereotypes about Indian Americans and arranged marriage. Menon was born and raised in India and now lives in Colorado. -Recommended by Rebecca Ballenger Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: The Rooster Who would Not be Quiet!

The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!
Book of the Month, August 2017
The Rooster Who would Not be Quiet! by Carmen Agra Deedy with illustrations by Eugene Yelchin

This allegoric tale demonstrates the power of resistance when a rooster challenges a unjust law. Even when the mayor chops down the rooster’s favorite tree, imprisons him, separates him from his family, and puts him in the dark, the rooster will not obey. The lively illustrations and text combine to demonstrate how injustice can be overcome. Don’t miss the essential Afterward. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter
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WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones by Margriet Ruurs, with translation by Falah Raheem and illustrations by Nizar Badr
Book of the Month, July 2017
Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey by Margriet Ruurs, with translation by Falah Raheem and illustrations by Nizar Badr

Bilingual English/Arabic text and expressive artwork made from stones tell the story of a boy and his family who must flee their home in war-torn Syria. Their journey is dangerous and grueling, but eventually they find a safe haven. This timely book is an excellent introduction to the concept of refugees and will spark powerful discussions about the consequences of war and the treatment of people forced out of their homes. -Recommended by Janine Schall
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WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Dive!

Dive by Deborah Hopkinson
Book of the Month, June 2017
Dive! World War II Stories of Sailors and Submarines in The Pacific by Deborah Hopkinson

These engrossing, fascinating stories focus on particular sailors, skippers and submarines that operated in the Pacific for some years as practically the only part of our navy that survived the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Special sections such as Dispatch, Briefings, Submarine School (operating the head should be a hit), Skippers Recommendations, Timelines, Maps, and Photographs deepen the telling of the stories and add historical facts without being didactic. The After section is superb with more fascinating information. The whole book is a page turner. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter
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WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Dreamland Burning

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham
Book of the Month, May 2017
Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

As the summer of 1921 kicks in, racial tensions in Tulsa strain to the point of violence. This leads to the (controversially named) Tulsa Race Riots, which are not officially part of the Oklahoma History curriculum until July 1, 2012. In this setting, Will and Rowan, biracial teens struggling with both privilege and prejudice, live 90 years apart. A murder ties them together. Dreamland Burning blends historical fiction with mystery to show how “history has a way of sneaking back around.” Carefully paced, compelling, and true-to-life, this is a book I needed growing up in Oklahoma. -Recommended by Rebecca Ballenger

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WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Ada’s Violin

Ada's Violin The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
Book of the Month, April 2017
Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Comport

Ada lives next to a landfill where people comb the trash looking for items to sell for recycling. There is little hope or stimulation in her life until a teacher offers music lessons. Inspiration flows from this true story of how children in a orchestra with instruments made from the trash becomes a international sensation. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter

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WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Sachiko

Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story by Caren Stelson
Book of the Month, March 2017
Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson

Sachiko, was 6 years old when the bomb was dropped on her city. This book tells how she survived when her four siblings did not. The story is heart rendering and is based on five interviews the author did with Sachiko. Maps, photographs, sidebars about the period give more information. Sachiko is a finalist for the National Book Award. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter
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