WOW Review: Volume XI, Issue 4

Volume XI, Issue 4 (Summer 2019): Global Nonfiction and Biographies

The emphasis on reading nonfiction has resulted in an explosion of quality informational texts from around the world. In this issue we collected reviews of nonfiction books, including biographies and fictionalized books based on facts. As submissions for the issue came in, we were struck by how biographies dominated, perhaps indicating the bond humans have with story. Our one title that is not a biography about a person is actually a biography of three penguins!

The biographies range from little known people like Dita, the librarian at Auschwitz during the Holocaust, to well-known contemporary activist Malala Yousafzai. The texts are rich in visual and verbal images, including autobiographies in story format by Francisco Jimenez and Jessica Kensky and in poetic forms by Jacqueline Woodson and Yuyi Morales. The picturebook biographies present writers, activists, scientists (Ada Lovelace), sports figures/artists (Ernie Barnes), and environmentalists (Wangari Maathai).

Biographies are powerful tools to help readers see possibilities as they read about people who have accomplished so much, despite trying circumstances. Francisco Jimenez and Yuyi Morales both left home for a new country where they did not speak the language. Dita Kraus was discriminated against due to her ethnicity, Ada Lovelace by her gender, and both Ernie Barnes and Jacqueline Woodson by the color of their skin. Mala Yousafzai and Jessica Kensky were injured by terrorists, and Wangari Maathai worked against tremendous political odds to create a movement. We hope you enjoy learning about these fascinating people (and penguins).

Our Fall 2019 issue is open themed. We welcome reviews of recent children’s and young adult books that highlight intercultural and global perspectives. Submission deadline: August 15, 2019.

Susan Corapi & Prisca Martens, Co-Editors