In warm, sparkling prose that moves easily from English to Spanish and back, Caldecott Honor artist Morales (Viva Frida
) traces the journey that she and her small son took in 1994, when they immigrated from Mexico to the United States. (“My Story,” included after the text, supplies the details.) A woman and a child struggle to understand the rules as they explore San Francisco. (When the two play in a public fountain, a policeman approaches, hands on hips; “Ay!” the mother cries in dismay.) Then they discover the library: “Suspicious./ Improbable./ Unbelievable./ Surprising.” It’s a miraculous oasis—countless books to borrow, information about everything in the world. There, she says, “We learned to read,/ to speak,/ to write,/ and/ to make/ our voices heard.” As the languages blend, so do the images. Mexican motifs—a genial skeleton, a painted dog, embroidered flowers—dance through the pages, keeping mother and son company on their journey, and the library shelves swoop and curve, embracing them. (Readers will recognize favorite titles among the carefully painted book covers.) Many books about immigration describe the process of making new friends and fitting in; this one describes what it’s like to become a creative being in two languages, and to learn to love in both. “We are two languages./ We are lucha./ We are resilience./ We are hope.” A Spanish-language version will be published simultaneously. Ages 4–8. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy, Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency.
Reviewed on 07/13/2018 |
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