Zonia’s Rain Forest

Juana Martinez-Neal. Candlewick, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0845-0
“Zonia lives with those she loves in the rain forest,/ where it is always green and full of life,” begins Martinez-Neal (Alma and How She Got Her Name) in this un- flinching look at the changing Peruvian Amazon. Barefoot and wearing a yellow dress, brown-skinned Zonia sits with her mother and nursing baby brother. “Every morning, the rain forest calls to Zonia.// Every morning, Zonia answers.” In wispy mixed-media art that includes linocuts on banana bark paper, Martinez-Neal introduces Zonia’s friends, the animals of the Amazon—blue morph butterflies, river dolphins, sloths, and more—who interact with the child in their shared home. (“You are my favorite,” she whispers, nose to nose with a coati.) As Zonia heads back to her mother, though, she receives a new call from her beloved forest when she stumbles upon a place where the trees and undergrowth have been destroyed—only stumps remain. Further supporting this striking look at the way environmental destruction disenfranchises Indigenous communities, back matter contextualizes the final images and, alongside material about life in the Amazon, includes a translation of the text into Asháninka. Ages 4–8. Agent: Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/28/2021
Release date: 03/30/2021
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-6665-0015-8
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