World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

From beloved, award-triumphing poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction―a collection of essays about the herbal world, and the way its population can teach, support, and encourage us. As a child, Nezhukumatathil called many places home: the grounds of a Kansas intellectual institution, wherein her Filipina mother turned into a doctor; the open skies and tall mountains of Arizona, in which she hiked with her Indian father; and the chillier climes of western New York and Ohio. But no matter wherein she became transplanted―no matter how awkward the suit or forbidding the landscape―she become 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’ll run faraway from and run returned to all of your life.” The axolotl teaches us to smile, even inside the face of unkindness; the touch-me-now not plant shows us how to shake off unwanted advances; the narwhal demonstrates the way to live on in antagonistic environments. Even inside the extraordinary and the unlovely, Nezhukumatathil finds beauty and kinship. For it’s far this manner with wonder: it requires that we’re curious enough to appearance beyond the distractions so one can completely respect the world’s gifts. Warm, lyrical, and gorgeously illustrated by using Fumi Nakamura, World of Wonders is a e-book of sustenance and joy.


Poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s writing regularly praises the earth and its bounty. In her first nonfiction work, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments, Nezhukumatathil expands her reflections into essays accompanied through illustrations by Fumi Nakamura.

Nezhukumatathil’s satisfaction within the world isn’t dulled by using the arena’s racism, however she doesn’t shy away from sharing her studies of being on the receiving stop of discrimination. In 0.33 grade, for example, Nezhukumatathil drew a peacock, her favorite animal, for the class animal-drawing contest. She had just back from southern India, her father’s native country, and she become elated by its colourful animals. Her instructor changed into much less enamored. “Some folks will must begin over and draw American animals. We live in Ah-mer-i-kah!” the instructor declared after recognizing Nezhukumatathil’s drawing.

Both of Nezhukumatathil’s dad and mom are immigrants (her mother is from the Philippines), and at some stage in World of Wonders, she describes the muse they laid for her and her sister. As their own family moved throughout the country, her parents encouraged their daughters to experience the outdoors. No count number their ZIP code, Nezhukumatathil followed her interest and discovered a domestic inside the natural international.

That formative years connection to nature echoes through her adulthood, in which vegetation and animals connect Nezhukumatathil’s present to her past. The catalpa tree offered shade for Nezhukumatathil and her sister as they walked from their home in Kansas to the sanatorium in which their mom worked. When Nezhukumatathil movements to Oxford, Mississippi, to educate on the university, she expects to want the catalpa tree to offer safe haven from people’s interest about her brown skin. But no person stares at her in Mississippi. Instead, the trees provide shade as she rushes to elegance, just as they did years ago.

By examining the sector round her, Nezhukumatathil unearths an ongoing experience of connection to that international, signaling to her like a firefly: “They blink on and off, a lime glow to the summer night air, as if to say: I am nonetheless here, you are still here, I am still here, you are nevertheless here, I am, you are, over and over again.” World of Wonders is as glowing as an armful of glass bangles and as colorful because the peacocks that first captured Nezhukumatathil’s imagination.


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