Yuyi Morales: Dreamers (Neal Porter Books 2018)
In The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera, the main character, Petra, reads this book to her younger brother. That’s when I became curious about the book and realized that it is real. I really like it when characters in contemporary books read other contemporary books. This makes the story seem even more real and we can better imagine ourselves in it.
Yuyi Morales’ autobiography-inspired book is about how to not only survive, but love, accept and be accepted in a new country. The story is both current and timeless. According to the author, everyone has their own story. Hers is that she came to the United States in 1994 with her two-month-old son and it turned out that she had to stay. At first, she couldn’t find her place because she didn’t understand the language and the people living there. The library became her home, where she could learn the language and finally make herself understood. In the end, she became a writer and illustrator and won the Pura Belpré award five times, among other prestigious awards. She illustrated this book herself with her own drawings, her childhood works, as well as traditional Mexican textile patterns and photos.
The Pura Belpré Award was founded in 1996 and is awarded every year to a Latinx author or illustrator who best represents Latino cultural experience in children’s and youth literature. The award is named after Pura Belpré, who was the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. As a children’s librarian, storyteller, and writer, she has pioneered the preservation and dissemination of Puerto Rican folklore.