World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments

World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments

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.

Title:World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781571313652
Format Type:

    World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments Reviews

  • Bethany Johnsen

    An ambitious and lovely project, to interweave personal essay and nature writing, but too clumsily done for me to enjoy. Each essay is named after a natural phenomenon (plant, animal, typhoon) and mak...

  • Mark

    This is truly an 11 out of 10. With the world spinning in the wrong direction, the time had been doing me and I had not been able to do the time. Then this book, which I’ve been anxiously awaiting f...

  • Katelynn

    This is the kind of gentle and lyrical ecotone I've always wished I could write, and am thrilled for everyone on planet Earth to read. Through ancestry, travel, academic study, and her childhood, moth...

  • Leah

    Some essays are better than others there’s the occasional twee bullshit that’s annoyingly typical of The Toast but the feelings of love and wonder that fill the book charmed me in the end....

  • Andy Weston

    There’s a nice selection of subjects here, but I really couldn’t get one with this style of writing - almost painful. ...

  • Elizabeth?

    I first saw a review for this on Kirkus. I love the cover. I love the content. I love the illustrations. I love the honesty. Nezhukumatathil has a Filipino mother and Indian father. This gives her a u...

  • Katie/Doing Dewey

    Summary: The structure of this book felt random, while the mash-up of memoir with nature writing and the prose were hit or miss for me.This book of nature essays blended with moments of memoir is poet...

  • Keith Taylor

    This book deceives by its crystalline surface. It is so easy to move into that the reader often doesn't know how far they've come, how deeply they've been changed. It is an important book at exactly t...

  • Nicole

    Tenuous links between the personal stories and the nature titbits, but sweet and full of love. It’s not in-depth with either the memoir parts or the nature writing (maybe partly because it was origi...

  • Adison

    This book came during a “slowdown” in my reading life (teaching during a pandemic will do that!). In a lot of ways, I think it was a perfect book for this time. I needed to be reminded of how much...