Dreamers. Written by Yuyi Morales. Neal Porter Books/Holiday House. Ages 4-8. $18.99
Winner of five Pura Belpre Awards and a Caldecott Honor, Yuyi Morales shares her immigrant experience bringing her baby son to America. Morales writes in simple, lyrical prose sprinkled with Spanish words. At first, her lack of English causes troubles and mistakes, the details of which are revealed in her images. Finally, she discovers the library, a “suspicious, improbable, unbelievable, surprising, unimaginable” place she comes to trust. Through the wonders of books, she not only learns the language, but also finds her creative purpose. Morales’s art combines drawing, painting, and scanned images into beautiful double-page spreads containing rich layers of symbolism and reflecting both the bright colors of Mexico and the foggy charm of San Francisco. Monarch butterflies, which in Mexico represent the returning spirits of deceased relatives because they return from their migration each year on the Day of the Dead, flit across the pages. Internationally, they symbolize change and hope, a perfect metaphor for the immigrant experience. The dress Morales wears throughout the book has colorful flames or petals at the bottom, which could represent her being on fire for learning or perhaps her life blossoming into more than she ever thought it could be. Morales pays homage to favorite books by including their images in the library scenes and listing them in the back of the book. This feast for both the eyes and ears is an inspiration to dreamers everywhere!