Review of Dreamers

by Yuyi Morales; illus. by the author
Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp.
9/18    978-0-8234-4055-9    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4125-9    $18.99
Spanish ed.  978-0-8234-4258-4    $18.99

Two pairs of eyes shine from the cover of Morales’s book — the infant’s eyes brilliant with curiosity, his mother’s gaze pensive. These two “migrantes” arrive on “the other side, / thirsty, in awe, / unable to go back.” Here they meet cultural challenges (customs, language) that are resolved at the San Francisco Public Library, with its welcoming staff and “unimaginable” wealth of books. These offer paths to literacy, community, even a career: the stellar picture books Morales found there inspired her to create her own. Nicely recognizable in the art, they’re also identified in a lengthy list of “Books That Inspired Me (and Still Do).” Enriching the artist’s palette of turquoise, indigo, crimson, magenta, and gold, another migrant — a vibrant orange monarch butterfly — flits freely throughout. Folkloric figures, too, engage in the action, while the diaphanous garment from which the mother seems to emerge — it’s like flowers, feathers, flame — protects and propels her. Occasional Spanish words enrich the succinct, gently poetic text. Back matter includes “My Story,” setting the narrative in personal and historical context (Morales came to the U.S. in 1994); a note describes the natural and culturally significant materials used in the pen-and-ink, acrylic, and collage art. A wise book and, to praise it in its own words, “resplendent,” an eloquent vision of the “resilience” and “hope” of the “dreamers, soñadores of the world.” Concurrently published in Spanish as Soñadores.

From the November/December 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Joanna Rudge Long
Joanna Rudge Long
Joanna Rudge Long is former editor of Kirkus Reviews and a frequent lecturer on children’s books.

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