Niños: Poems for the Lost Children of Chile

Eerdmans. Mar. 2021. 76p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780802855671.
Gr 3 Up–On September 11, 1973, a military coup in Chile led to a 17-year dictatorship. A haunting introduction explains that 3,197 people were killed during this time and 34 were children under the age of 14. Ferrada and Valdez provide an homage to childhood and life that gives a voice to the deceased children. Each poem is titled with the name of a child who was killed during General Pinochet’s regime, and every child’s full name and age are listed in the back matter. Ferrada’s language and choice of form—free verse translated from the original Spanish—flows well and captures the personalities of the featured children. Poems for the children who died very young are sweet and short. For example, five-month-old Raúl liked the sound of his mother calling him “little bird.” The natural world is a common thread, enhancing the sense of wonder, curiosity, creativity, and inventiveness of childhood. The repetition of the theme also connects the experiences of these children to those around the world. The mixed-media art uses watercolor, pastel, charcoal, and colored pencils to create a soft and dreamlike palette. White space is incorporated well and allows the poems to shine.
VERDICT A heartfelt volume emphasizing innocence in the face of continuing political violence, this #OwnVoices work is a must-purchase for poetry collections serving young patrons.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing