An inspiring choice for fertile young minds trying to find their voices by seeing the world around them.

SOMEONE LIKE ME

When does someone truly learn the gift of writing and storytelling? Newbery Medalist MacLachlan takes her trademark elegant writing to the picture-book level with this semiautobiographical charmer.

Spare and intimate, the narrative speaks directly to readers, inviting them to see glimpses of memories that catch the imagination. “If you were a little girl who listened to stories,” the text begins as a white-haired grandmother walks with a mop-haired girl, both white. Under MacLachlan’s smooth hand, a flood of images returns: the little girl hiding under the dinner table to hear the grown-ups telling secrets; a sweet hound dog “taught” to talk by little fingers pulling on his lips; a small bag of sweet prairie earth to remember from where she came. She is inspired by the people in her past, the simple nature around her home, and her own vivid dreams. Illustrations by Sheban, done in watercolor, colored pencil and graphite, use light and shadow to give each page a warm, earthy glow. The images are soft and dreamlike in their gentleness, as if veiled by a scrim with an invitation to come and look closer. “You might be someone like me, / A writer.”

An inspiring choice for fertile young minds trying to find their voices by seeing the world around them. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-334-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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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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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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