Mallko and Dad

Gusti, trans. from the Spanish by Mara Faye Lethem. Enchanted Lion, $19.95 (120p) ISBN 978-1-59270-259-6
Deeply affecting and sometimes funny, this scrapbook-style memoir records Argentinian artist Gusti’s journey toward unconditional love for his son, Mallko, identified as a child with Down syndrome shortly after his birth. Sketches and scribbly, brightly colored drawings alternate with interviews, narrative reflections, poems, and song lyrics, all sensitively translated by Lethem, chronicling the way Mallko conquers Gusti’s heart. They reveal Gusti’s fears and celebrate his growing discovery, with support from family and friends, of Mallko’s skills and gifts (Mallko’s mother declares, “He had every right to arrive as he did”). Mallko loves cars, mopping the patio, and his “freeze ray” powers: “Once you are frozen you have to wait for him to unfreeze you. The most effective method is a kiss.” Gusti’s early inner conflict may make this a tough read for younger readers—in one moment, he confesses “I DID NOT ACCEPT HIM,” the words printed in huge black letters across two pages. But his naked honesty offers balance to his eventual understanding that “Mallko was already complete. And not only that: I realized he was great. The greatest.” Ages 10–12. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/22/2018
Release date: 07/01/2018
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 120 pages - 978-1-59270-211-4
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