An open theme allows for reader and reviewer creativity in selecting books and themes to highlight. There are ten books in this issue that touch upon celebration, connection, self-identity, and seeing others. Several of the books share bicultural experiences, with Falling into the Dragon’s Mouth by Holly Thompson, My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald, and Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle focusing on young people negotiating a new culture while holding onto what they know about themselves. Through these three narratives, readers view the themes of connection and identity in bicultural contexts.
The Newbery Award winning Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña presents a young man learning about connection to his community. This wonderful narrative complements the provocative picture books, Two White Rabbits by Jairo Buitrago and I am a Bear by Jean-François Dumont. All three books address issues of seeing others and valuing each person as someone who matters. In addition to these remarkable books, the stunning graphic novel The Only Child by Guojing and the wonderfully-rendered Hope is a Girl Selling Fruit by Amrita Das illustrate life in global cultures through artistic expression and highlight aspects of each author’s identity.
Finally, we are invited to celebrate with books, such as It’s Time for Holi! by Amita Roy Shah and Diane Lucas and the delightful Norwegian Adventures with Waffles by Maria Parr. Holi is the festival of color in India, and Shah’s text tells the story of connecting to one’s roots when living in another country. Adventures with Waffles celebrates life on a small Norwegian island and how children create their own outlandish adventures. Actually, all of the books in this issue are celebratory in some way. They celebrate community, identity, connection, and how seeing others transforms those who see as well as those who are seen. And, in essence, that is the hope we all share.
It is my hope that as you continue reading global literature, you will consider writing a review for Volume VII, Issue 4: Literature as Key: The Power to Unlock Potential, Open Possibilities, Close Doors, Discover Knowledge, and Set One Free due May 15, 2016. How do pieces of literature from across the world serve as keys to readers? What pieces have you read recently that have had you thinking about doors opening or closing? What possibilities exist for characters within the books you have read recently? And how do authors unlock potential for their characters or for their readers? These questions and more can be addressed in the next issue of WOW Review.
Holly Johnson, Editor