cover image I Dreamt... A Book About Hope

I Dreamt... A Book About Hope

Gabriela Olmos, trans. from the Spanish by Elisa Amado. Groundwood (PGW, dist.), $18.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-55498-330-8

Twelve Mexican illustrators have each donated a piece of art to Olmos’s picture-book meditation, which benefits the Children in Crisis Fund, a project of the nonprofit International Board on Books for Young People. The book was first published in Mexico where, Olmos writes in an endnote, “for the past six years a vicious war against drugs has brought fear and insecurity into every child’s life.” That uncertainty and turmoil is starkly represented in the preceding pages, as images of violence are transformed into ones of hope and happiness. “I dreamt of pistols that shoot butterflies,” writes Olmos as Juan Gedovius paints a fairylike creature bursting from a revolver, the gun taking on the leafy speckled color of the butterfly’s wings. Troll-like drug lords, armed with guns and knives, “sell only soap bubbles” (but are still quite intimidating) in a scene drawn by Chubasco; later, Alejandro Herrerías shows two cartoon children dressed as soldiers, smiling as they cover their ears (“And in my dream bombs were bursting out gales of laughter”). It’s a passionate, earnest call for better, safer lives for the world’s children. Ages 9–up. (May)