Oh this book! A wholly unique, beautifully perfect gem of an essay collection - a gorgeous, joyful mix of personal memoir and nature essay by poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Stories of fireflies & narwhals, axolotls & corpse flowers braid together with her experiences growing up a person of color in Kansas & Arizona and raising two sons to have her same sense of wonder at the natural world around them. What can a firefly teach you about climate change & respect for the planet, memory & family, how to treat one another, what to do when you feel overwhelmed by the weight of the world? One of the best books I've read in a good long while. -sm
— From Seth's Picks
“Aimee didn’t know it at the time (or maybe she did in her mystical way), but this book was written for me and all the other brown-skinned, nature-loving, quiet-questers in the world. This beautiful package asks the reader to pick it up and go for a walk down memory lane, where you will find essays on a diversity of flora and fauna, from the dragon fruit to the narwhal, and from the corpse flower to the axolotl — all of which are gorgeously illustrated inside. Her writing asks everyone to find beauty and connection to the wonders that are nature’s stories.”
— Jessica Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA
"Hands-down one of the most beautiful books of the year." --NPR
From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction--a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us.
As a child, Nezhukumatathil called many places home: the grounds of a Kansas mental institution, where her Filipina mother was a doctor; the open skies and tall mountains of Arizona, where she hiked with her Indian father; and the chillier climes of western New York and Ohio. But no matter where she was transplanted--no matter how awkward the fit or forbidding the landscape--she was able to turn to our world's fierce and funny creatures for guidance.
"What the peacock can do," she tells us, "is remind you of a home you will run away from and run back to all your life." The axolotl teaches us to smile, even in the face of unkindness; the touch-me-not plant shows us how to shake off unwanted advances; the narwhal demonstrates how to survive in hostile environments. Even in the strange and the unlovely, Nezhukumatathil finds beauty and kinship. For it is this way with wonder: it requires that we are curious enough to look past the distractions in order to fully appreciate the world's gifts.
Warm, lyrical, and gorgeously illustrated by Fumi Nakamura, World of Wonders is a book of sustenance and joy.