FICTION

Dreamers

illus. by Yuyi Morales. 40p. further reading. Holiday House/Neal Porter Bks. Sept. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823440559 POP
COPY ISBN
OrangeReviewStarPreS-Gr 3—The acclaimed creator of Niño Wrestles the World and Viva Frida has crafted another masterpiece in this autobiographical picture book. From her son's birth to their move to the United States from Mexico in the mid-1990s to their often fraught- and barrier-filled life, the tale highlights the many obstacles immigrants face while trying to survive in a new country that doesn't readily welcome non—English-speaking people of color. The pair encounters respite at the library where, with the help of librarians, they find a home in the children's section. The dreamlike, lyrical text captures the wonder of childhood, learning, and discovery through books. The magical art marries the succinct and powerful narrative in a resplendent celebration of literacy, language, and the transformative power of the picture book form. Readers will delight in finding Morales's tributes to kid lit classics, new and old, throughout the spreads. The majestic illustrations often incorporate Mexican traditions and mythology and they resound with mythic imagery, speaking volumes about the love and dreams shared between mother and child. Morales explains in an author's note that she and her son are not "Dreamers" in the modern sense—"young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children"—but dreamers in the sense of all immigrants who come to a new country. Also appended are a thorough list of the books referenced in the artwork and a fascinating note on the materials used in the creation of this work, including a nib pen that once belonged to Maurice Sendak, scanned images of Morales's studio floor, her and her son's childhood drawings, and more.
VERDICT This excellent memoir encapsulates the fears, hopes, and dreams that come along with immigrating to a new place and building a new life in an unfamiliar and often hostile landscape. A timely and much-needed selection.

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