Introduction and Editors’ Note
When we brainstormed the theme of this issue, we were thinking mostly about COVID-19, but the reality is children are constantly navigating complex and difficult events. While some of the reviews include the word trauma, the purpose of this issue is to highlight the healing journeys of characters, rather than attempting to label an event as traumatic. As editors, we asked ourselves, “How are the characters finding their way through difficult life experiences?” We hope that as you read these titles and share them with children, you also find ways to heal and keep moving.
Some of these titles stress the role of language in encouraging a sense of hope and safety. In the picturebook Abuelita and Me (Carranza, 2022), Abuelita’s words, “What happened is not our fault. We are not the ones that need to hide,” support a young Latina child navigating microaggressions encountered as they walk to the market or take public transportation. In the bilingual picturebook Maxy Survives the Hurricane/Maxy sobrevive el huracán (Chansky & Marcial Acevedo, 2021), the words of a grandmother help Clarita and her dog, Maxy, cope with the aftermath of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico, “There is no need to fear rain. Not every rain storm is a hurricane.” These grandmothers’ words carry intergenerational wisdom, a wealth of knowledge shaped by their experiences coping and healing from life’s challenges.
Other titles highlight the power of story in creating a sense of belonging during painful immigration journeys. In the graphic novel Isla to Island (Castellanos, 2022), Marisol is forced to leave Cuba at a young age due to an unsafe sociopolitical climate. The written stories she finds at the school library allow her to develop needed connections between her beloved Cuba and her new home in New York. Similarly, Areli tells her own story of connecting in the picturebook Areli Is a Dreamer (Morales, 2021). She finds herself while listening to stories about Ellis Island and the millions of immigrants before her who came to the United States in the hope of building a brighter future.
The last two titles featured in this issue are set in intimate spaces within households marked by loss or sadness at the coming loss of a loved one. Told from a grandchild’s perspective, Last Week (Richardson, 2022) creates a window into Flippa’s family as they experience her last days when she decides on an assisted death. What is the best way to say goodbye? In The Tunnel (Howden, 2022), a young boy and his mom navigate what seems to be the loss of his father. By spending time alone inside an imaginary tunnel, the child finds some comfort and the strength to return home. Both of these stories invite readers to consider the importance of heart-searching and soul-searching in the healing process.
Please consider submitting a review for our future issues. The editors welcome reviews of children’s or YA books that highlight intercultural understanding and global perspectives around these themes:
Volume 15, Issue 2 – Themed issue on intergenerational relationships (Winter 2022) – submission deadline is November 15, 2022. The editors welcome reviews of global or multicultural children’s or young adult books published within the last three years that highlight intercultural understanding and global perspectives, especially perspectives that are influenced by interactions of children and young adults with other generations (e.g., grandparents, family members, adults in their community).
Volume 15, Issue 3 – Open theme (Spring 2023) – submission deadline February 15, 2023. The editors welcome reviews of global or multicultural children’s or young adult books published within the last three years that highlight intercultural understanding and global perspectives.
María V. Acevedo-Aquino and Susan Corapi, Co-editors
© 2022 by María V. Acevedo-Aquino and Susan Corapi
WOW Review, Volume XIV, Issue 4 by Worlds of Words is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on work by María V. Acevedo-Aquino and Susan Corapi at https://wowlit.org/on-line-publications/review/xiv-4/2
WOW review: reading across cultures