This unthemed issue of WOW Review offers a variety of potential reading experiences across genre, eras, themes and topics, in particular the themes of family and acceptance are highlighted in these fourteen titles along with history, imagination, and tradition. Dancing with Dziadziu and My Nana’s Remedies/ Los remedios de mi nana tell of relationships with grandmothers as well as shared cultural traditions. What Can You Do with a Rebozo? Que puedes hacer con un rebozo/, Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia, and Mirror continue this theme with images of daily family life in different cultural settings. South Africa: Explore the World Through Soccer also contains strong elements of family and daily life with a focus on a young eight-year- old girl’s love of soccer as she shares about life in her country. Family is also a central theme of Mao and Me and My Childhood under Fire: A Sarajevo Diary along with the historical significance of major events in those countries. A family focus for older readers is found in Life as It Comes, a contemporary novel set in France.
Of course, what is a family focus without the traditional stories told within those families? My Land Sings: Stories from the Rio Grande is a collection of ten stories from the Rio Grande area that serve as a reminder of the power of story as a legacy for all cultures. Kamishibai: Hats for the Jizos brings another traditional storytelling format with elements of fantasy to our attention and invites readers to explore the more contemporary fantasy tales in this issue. Guardian of the Dead brings Maori mythology to life in a novel about a young New Zealand girl who receives magical powers. This story of loyalty and acceptance for older readers has a counterpart in the theme of acceptance in the picture book, Jack and Jim. The philosophical stance in Jack and Jim is also found interwoven throughout Tales from Outer Suburbia.
It is hoped that these reviews will add to your enjoyment and insight of each title, including ones that you may have already read. A number of the reviewers write out of personal connections to their own cultures and families and this adds to our understandings of these books. The invitation to explore these reviews is, of course, an invitation to read the books that might be new to you and to consider the reviewers’ comments. We look forward to your insights and contributions as you respond. In addition please consider submitting a review for our next themed call, “Young People Taking Action for Social Change.” The call for this issue is provided on this site.
Janelle Mathis, Editor