World of Wonders


World of Wonders

In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments

“Hands-down one of the most beautiful books of the year.” —NPR
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A New York Times Best Seller ◆ Barnes & Noble 2020 Book of the Year ◆ An NPR Best Book of 2020 ◆ A Kirkus Prize Finalist for Nonfiction ◆ A Southern Book Prize Finalist ◆ A 2020 Ohioana Book Award Winner ◆ A 2021 Ohioana Book Award Winner ◆ An Esquire Best Book of 2020 ◆ A BuzzFeed Best Book of 2020 ◆ 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” ◆ A Wall Street Journal “Holiday Gift Guide 2020” Selection ◆ A Minneapolis Star Tribune “Holiday Books” Recommendation ◆ An Indie Next Pick, September 2020 ◆ A Publishers Weekly “Big Indie Book of Fall 2020” ◆ A Literary Hub “Most Anticipated Book of 2020” ◆ A Ralph Lauren Magazine Summer Reading Recommendation ◆ A Garden & Gun Summer Reading Recommendation ◆ A Bustle “Best Book of Fall 2020” ◆ Named a “Most Anticipated Book of 2020” by The Millions ◆ An Alma “Favorite Book for Fall 2020” ◆ A Literary Hub “Recommended Climate Read for September 2020” ◆ A Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Reading Recommendation for Fall 2020 ◆ A Kansas Notable Book

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.


essays about nature; essays about animals; illustrated essays; hope; wonder; identity; essays; hope; wonder; identity; New York Times bestseller; illustrations; catalpa tree; firefly; fireflies; peacock; comb jelly
Publish Date: 
5.5 × 8.5 × 0.75 in
13.1 oz

Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of World of Wonders, an illustrated essay collection, as well as of four books of poetry, including, most recently, Oceanic, winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award. She serves as poetry faculty for the Writing Workshops in Greece and is professor of English and Creative Writing in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program.

Praise and Prizes

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