cover image Bright Star

Bright Star

Yuyi Morales. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4328-4

Morales (Dreamers) writes a love song to the land that forms the border between the U.S. and Mexico. She begins not with the people who brave it but with finely executed, digitally enhanced portraits of the wild flora and fauna that live in the desert. A doe guards her newborn fawn as embroidered text reads, “Child, you are awake!” The voice continues, the doe licking her fawn: “You are ALIVE! You are a bright star/ inside our hearts.” When threats loom, “Te amo,” reads the text, as the mother touches her muzzle to her child’s, “breathe in, despacito,/ then gently breathe out./ Lie low.” In a charged moment, animals and insects confront a border wall, their pathways blocked and cacti upended. As animals circle to protect the young deer, reassuring it “you are not alone,” a visual shift links the fragility of the desert’s life to the vulnerability of people stuck on one side of the border—both are at the mercy of oppressive forces, and their fates are intertwined. Yet Morales holds out the hope of a beautiful world, discussed in a lyrically written afterword. Ages 4–8. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy, Charlotte Sheedy Literary. (Sept.)