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

Product Code: 9358
ISBN: 9781639550562
Format: Paperback / softback
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Pages: 248
Published Date: 04/16/2024
Availability:In stock
Price: $20.00

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.

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Catalpa Tree
Comb Jelly
Cactus Wren
Dancing Frog
Vampire Squid
Corpse Flower
Bonnet Macaque
Calendars Poetica
Whale Shark
Cara Cara Orange
Grey Cockatiel
Dragon Fruit
Ribbon Eel
Questions While Searching for Birds with My Half-White Sons, Aged Six and Nine, National Audubon Bird Count Day, Oxford, MS
Superb Bird of Paradise
Red-Spotted Newt
Southern Cassowary
Monarch Butterfl
Firefly (Redux)


An NPR Best Book of 2020 - A Kirkus Prize Finalist for Nonfiction - A Southern Book Prize Finalist - A Kirkus Best Nonfiction Book of 2020 - A Literary Hub Favorite Book of 2020 - A BookPage Best Book of 2020 - A New York Public Library Best Book of 2020 - A Literary Hub Best Reviewed Essay Collection of 2020 - A Smithsonian Magazine “Top Ten Book About Travel of 2020” - An Indie Next Pick, September 2020 - A Publishers Weekly “Big Indie Book of Fall 2020” - A Literary Hub “Most Anticipated Book of 2020” - A Literary Hub “Recommended Climate Read for September 2020”

"From its gorgeous illustrations to its unusual combination of lyrical nature writing and memoir, World of Wonders is hands-down one of the most beautiful books of the year." - NPR, "Best Books of 2020"

"Within two pages, nature writing feels different and fresh and new. Nezhukumatathil has written a timely story about love, identity and belonging . . . We are losing the language and the ability to see and understand the wondrous things around us. And our lives are impoverished by this process . . . This book demands we find the eyes to see and the heart to love such things once more. It is a very fine book indeed, truly full of wonder." - New York Times Book Review

"It can be helpful to focus on the wonder of the natural world when so much of what is happening around us feels out of our control . . . World of Wonders urges us to take a breath and look around." - NPR Morning Edition

"World of Wonders, kind of like Aimee, is flabbergasted, gobsmacked, and astonished with glee by all kinds of creatures and phenomena, all kinds of kin, from flamingos to catalpas, from monsoons to corpse flowers, from dancing frogs to axolotls." - Ross Gay, Poets & Writers

"The nature writing we have been exposed to has been overwhelmingly male and white, which is just one reason that Aimee Nezhukumatathil's latest essay collection, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments is a breath of fresh air . . . What makes her work shine is its joyful embrace of difference, revealing that true beauty resides only in diversity." - San Francisco Chronicle

"This slim volume is packed with gorgeous, thoughtful essays on the natural world by award-winning poet Nezhukumatathil." - Boston Globe

"Nezhukumatathil's investigations, enhanced by Nakamura's vividly rendered full-color illustrations, range across the world, from a rapturous rendering of monsoon season in her father's native India to her formative years in Iowa, Kansas, and Arizona, where she learned from the native flora and fauna that it was common to be different . . . The writing dazzles with the marvel of being fully alive." - Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

"Nezhukumatathil's essays, with vibrant illustrations from Nakamura, are in turn humorous, poignant, relatable, passionate (especially when she's bemoaning disappearing species and habitats), and always interesting." - Booklist

"A lyrical exploration of a woman finding her true home in the world, interspersed with hauntingly beautiful descriptions of the lives on the animals and plants that illuminate it, this natural history will appeal to nature lovers and readers who relish thoughtful, introspective works." - Library Journal

"Aimee Nezhukumatathil's shimmering essay collection about fantastic creatures and plants, World of Wonders, is shot through with memories of her peripatetic life and observations about race, motherhood, and environmental issues . . . [It's] a bibliophilic and visual delight that dazzles the senses, much like Nezhukumatathil's beloved comb jellies. Her entrancing essays are a reminder to spend more time outdoors wondering at and cherishing this 'magnificent and wondrous planet.'" - Foreword Reviews, Starred Review

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