An American story that is at once personal, timeless and universal. Lovely and uplifting.

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ANNA & SOLOMON

A young man immigrates to America at the turn of the 20th century and works and saves so his wife can join him.

Russia was not a good place for a young Jewish couple to thrive, no matter how hard they worked. The czar’s soldiers attacked their town, destroyed homes and religious books, and stole their possessions. Solomon and Anna decide that he should go to America and save up money to buy Anna a ticket. He arrives in New York and works as a housepainter, and months later, he is able to send the money. But when he meets the ship, Anna’s brother is there instead. They work together to send money again, and this time another brother arrives. Next time, it is Anna’s mother who gets off the ship. Finally Anna arrives, and they are reunited. The whole family continues to work and grow and prosper in their adopted land of freedom and opportunity. This tale of the author’s grandparents was passed down through the generations of her family. Snyder relates the events with obvious pride and love, in a conversational tone filled with descriptive details that highlight her ancestors’ determination, courage and compassion. Bliss’ illustrations beautifully complement the text, capturing time, place and emotions.

An American story that is at once personal, timeless and universal. Lovely and uplifting. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: May 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-30362-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared.

IMAGINE

Former Poet Laureate Herrera encourages his young readers to imagine all they might be in his new picture book.

Herrera’s free verse tells his own story, starting as a young boy who loves the plants and animals he finds outdoors in the California fields and is then thrust into the barren, concrete city. In the city he begins to learn to read and write, learning English and discovering a love for words and the way ink flows “like tiny rivers” across the page as he applies pen to paper. Words soon become sentences, poems, lyrics, and a means of escape. This love of the word ultimately leads him to make writing his vocation and to become the first Chicano Poet Laureate of the United States, an honor Herrera received in 2015. Through this story of hardship to success, expressed in a series of conditional statements that all begin “If I,” Herrera implores his readers to “imagine what you could do.” Castillo’s ink and foam monoprint illustrations are a tender accompaniment to Herrera’s verse, the black lines of her illustrations flowing across the page in rhythm with the author’s poetry. Together this makes for a charming read-aloud for groups or a child snuggled in a lap.

A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared. (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9052-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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A resplendent masterpiece.

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DREAMERS

Based on her experience of leaving Mexico for the United States, Morales’ latest offers an immigrant’s tale steeped in hope, dreams, and love.

This story begins with a union between mother and son, with arms outstretched in the midst of a new beginning. Soon after, mother and son step on a bridge, expansive “like the universe,” to cross to the other side, to become immigrants. An ethereal city appears, enfolded in fog. The brown-skinned woman and her child walk through this strange new land, unwilling to speak, unaccustomed to “words unlike those of our ancestors.” But soon their journey takes them to the most marvelous of places: the library. In a series of stunning double-page spreads, Morales fully captures the sheer bliss of discovery as their imaginations take flight. The vibrant, surreal mixed-media artwork, including Mexican fabric, metal sheets, “the comal where I grill my quesadillas,” childhood drawings, and leaves and plants, represents a spectacular culmination of the author’s work thus far. Presented in both English and Spanish editions (the latter in Teresa Mlawer’s translation), equal in evocative language, the text moves with purpose. No word is unnecessary, each a deliberate steppingstone onto the next. Details in the art provide cultural markers specific to the U.S., but the story ultimately belongs to one immigrant mother and her son. Thanks to books and stories (some of her favorites are appended), the pair find their voices as “soñadores of the world.”

A resplendent masterpiece. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4055-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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