MTYT: Dreamers

By Violet Henderson and Mary Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University

Mary and Violet continue to provide their takes on the 2019 Pura Belpré award winners and honor books. This week, they look at Dreamers by Yuyi Morales. The book was awarded the 2019 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award.

Violet: From beginning to end, Yuyi Morales’ illustrations in Dreamers transport the reader on a journey of visual metaphor. I find that the deep, vibrant, and smooth colors of tan, green, red, and orange deliver a vicarious experience, where I feel wisped away with the characters. As I read the text, I realize this book represents a journey within a journey. The book details through words and drawings, a crossing traversed by mother and son, and the gift of dreams, adventure, and imagination they bestow on each other. There is so much symbolism and inference interwoven within the illustrations; the pictures continue to convey their own story.

Mary: I have never read a Yuyi Morales story I didn’t like, and Dreamers is no exception! I feel the same way you do, Violet, about the smooth colors and how they wisped me away. Dreamers seems to parallel Yuyi’s personal story of immigrating to the United States in the early 1990’s. I appreciate how Yuyi shares the hopes and dreamers that people immigrating to the U.S. bring with them. In the current U.S. political climate, Morales’ narrative is timely, informative and vital for readers of all ages to hear.

Violet: I agree, Mary, this is an informative and timely book. I can see where Yuyi’s own personal experience influenced the writing and illustrating of this book. I read Dreamers in both English and Spanish (Soñadores), and both affect me differently. I believe the reflexivity of the Spanish language left me with a deeper emotional connection to the story. In addition, the story illuminates the unwavering ability of parents and caregivers to maintain aspirations and dreams for their children despite the hardships they, themselves, face.

Mary: Thanks for sharing that the English and Spanish versions of Dreamers affected you differently, Violet. I hope your take has piqued readers’ interest in Morales’ latest award winning picturebook and motivated them to pick up one or both versions to read. We invite them to share their own takes with WOW readers about the ways Dreamers affects them.

Named a Best Book of 2018 by Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Shelf Awareness, NPR, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, and others
A Junior Library Guild selection
A Eureka! Nonfiction Honoree
A Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon title

Author and Illustrator: Yuyi Morales
Publisher: Neal Porter Books
ISBN: 9780823440559
Date Published: September 4, 2018

Throughout May 2019, Mary and Violet give their takes on the 2019 Pura Belpré award winners and honor books. In last weeks installment, Mary and Violet discuss They Call Me Guero authored by David Bowels. The book won the Pura Belpré Honor Award for Authors for 2019. Check back each Wednesday to follow the conversation!

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