Introduction and Editors’ Note
The seven picturebooks reviewed for this open theme issue invite us as readers to reflect upon the concept of togetherness. What kind of experiences encourage us to feel united, safe, supported, and respected? What experiences make us feel that we belong? What experiences urge us to love and care for someone else?
Sometimes traditions bring individuals, families, and communities together. In ‘Ohana Means Family, by Ilima Loomis and Kenard Pak (2020) two young Hawaiian children take readers through the nuances of growing the kalo (taro) to make the poi for their family’s lū’au celebration. The preparation for lūʻau honors the people, the land, and their history of connectedness. Also grounded in family traditions, No Kimchi for Me, by Aram Kim (2017) describes Yoomi’s experiences with Kimchi, a Korean dish. Yoomi is not fond of Grandmother’s spicy kimchi, but she and her brothers learn that there are different ways to enjoy this special family recipe. For some families, camping is a once in a lifetime experience, while it is a summer tradition for others. In The Camping Trip, author Jennifer K. Mann (2020) draws on her family annual camping trip; however, for Ernestine, camping in the forest is a new experience that she shares with her aunt, cousin, and father. Under a starry night, Ernestine learns that she can feel safe and at ease even in unfamiliar places.
Stories can also bring people together. Our Favorite Day of the Year by A.E. Ali and Rahle Jomepour Bell (2020) tells the story of a diverse group of young students who are about to experience stories and storying as a means of making new friends and developing a sense of belonging and togetherness. Also set in the classroom, in The 1619 Project Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones, Renée Watson, and Nikkolas Smith (2021), a young Black American child learns about the rich histories and stories of her African ancestors before being stolen, kidnapped, and brought to America–stories of survival, resistance, remembering, and pride.
Other times, a call for action can bring people together. Set in Alabama, The Youngest Marcher, by Cynthia Levison and Vanessa Brantley Newton (2017) narrates the story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a young Black girl who marched to protest against segregation laws. Audrey was one of the more than three thousand children who were arrested in 1963; she was sentenced to “one week in juvenile hall.” Audrey’s mother called the detention center every day of that week to ensure her daughter’s safety. Also focused on fighting for justice, The Library Bus, by Bahram Rahman and Gabrielle Grimard (2020) tells the story of a bus that has been transformed into a library with the goal of teaching English to young girls living in rural communities in Kabul, Afghanistan. Together, Pari and Mama continue grandfather’s legacy by bringing school to the villages and refugee camps.
Please consider submitting a review for our future issues. The editors welcome reviews of any children’s or YA book that highlights intercultural understanding and global perspectives around these themes:
Volume 15, Issue 2 – Themed issue on intergenerational relationships (Winter 2022) – submission deadline December 31, 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 highlighting perspectives that might change as children and young adults interact with other generations (e.g., grandparents).
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 XV, Issue 1 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/xv-1/2
WOW review: reading across cultures