cover image A Path to the World

A Path to the World

Edited by Lori Marie Carlson-Hijuelos. Atheneum, $18.99 (128p) ISBN 978-1-4814-1975-8

Carlson-Hijuelos (Voices in First Person) ambitiously brings together 30 creators—including poet Jacinto Jesús Cardona, humanitarian Kamaal Majeed, and philosopher Alexandra Stoddard, among others—to detail their experiences navigating the “difficult choices along life’s way” in this succinct grouping of essays. Joseph Bruchac’s “Notes from a Translator’s Son” opens the book with the author reflecting on his Abenaki heritage; he admits to having “a face I did not used to love,” but now claims “you’re ugly and I like you.” In “Practicing Medicine Can Be Grimm Work,” pediatric professor Valerie Gribben suggests that “both fairy tales and medical charts chronicle the bizarre, the unfair, the tragic,” and posits that “fairy tales teach us to show kindness wherever we can,” lending credence to Gribben’s belief that both physical and mental healing begin with compassion. The contributors—whose lived experiences vary across ethnicity, gender, occupation, and sexuality—discuss themes of financial precarity, race, prejudice, and privilege, providing myriad personal perspectives. While the essays are often too short to impart ample advice, these intriguing and offbeat stories sufficiently blend serious and spirited observations about the world. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)