cover image Box of Dreams

Box of Dreams

Faith Kazmi, illus. by Christine Almeda. HarperCollins, $19.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-0632-5136-6

A mother and child connect with loved ones by post and shared memory in Kazmi’s cheerfully told debut. When a child sporting a red dress wonders about the box Mama is packing, Mama says, “It’s a balikbayan box. It means return to home, and it’s how we share our blessings with our family. This box makes me feel closer to them.” The items being packed prompt Mama to share stories of her childhood in the Philippines, picking mangos to eat as an after-school snack and splashing in the Pacific Ocean. Eager to share, the child adds their own items for cousins—plus a wish to visit family in the Philippines. Specific details (e.g., Mama’s including a particular, hard-to-find toothpaste in the box) capture the care that goes into the final product, and Almeda’s inventive digital images, which show Mama placed in moments of reminiscence while packing the box, add imaginative flair to this straightforward telling with a connective heart. An author’s note concludes. Ages 4–8. (May)