I Dreamt . . . A Book about Hope

In many parts of the world, children live with violence. Wars, gangs, guns, crime, bullying, harassment, and fear keep kids from living the full, free lives every child should enjoy. This book was created in Mexico, where for the past six years a vicious war has brought fear and insecurity to many children’s lives. Their dreams have become nightmares. Some of Mexico’s best illustrators have donated their art to create a book that gives children a way to talk about their fears, a reason to hope, and the inspiration to resist falling into grief.

One thought on “I Dreamt . . . A Book about Hope

  1. Pritchard & Martens says:

    Gail’s Take
    As we conclude this month’s My Take/Your Take column, I want to reflect on our theme of dreams. During the first week, we commented on our response to Gossamer by Joan Lowry. Each of us wrote about the role dreams play in our personal lives and from where and what dreams emerge. In Week 2, we reviewed the dreams and imagination of one particular person, Albert Einstein in On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne. Both of us marveled how there are those who dream, imagine, and question throughout their life journey and make a difference. And during the third week, we observed the power of those who have made a difference and changed the world in Dare to Dream… Change the World edited by Jill Corcoran. This final week follows-up on the notions of dreaming, taking action, and making a difference as we discuss, I Dreamt… A Book about Hope, by Gabriela Olmos.
    I can’t talk about this book without first addressing the phenomenal artwork. To have 12 artists donate their work to IBBY’s Children in Crisis Fund is, in itself, amazing–and to see their work and distinctive styles side-by-side is like walking through a modern art gallery. The illustrations juxtaposed against the written words evokes a range of emotions from fear to hope, scenes from violence to peacefulness, and a world of what if’s… where “kids choose to learn…. and grow…. and it is they who help us all to breathe.”
    While a number of reviewers have questioned the audience for this stunning picturebook, I have no qualms in recommending it—younger children will view and respond to it within their context of experiences which will be different from the responses of older children and adults. There is something important for everyone, be it in the words, the illustrations, or both.
    To me, the message is clear—when we push the subject of violence aside, the cycle perpetuates itself. ¡Bravo! to Gabriela Olmos, the artists, Elisa Amado (the translator), and those involved with this pictorial masterpiece who step up to “help children who have lived through wars, civil conflicts and natural disasters…” and remind us all–if we dare to dream, if we dare to have hope, if we dare to take action, then we make a difference.
    Prisca’s Take
    I agree, Gail, that this is really a powerful book! It begins with a ‘jolt’, though. The first two-page spread shows a gun and a butterfly with the text, “I dreamt of pistols that shoot butterflies…” and the second reads, “and of drug lords who only sell soap bubbles” with a picture of mean looking men, one of whom has a gun and a knife at his waist, blowing bubbles. I know that guns and drug lords are realities in the lives of too many children and, while I too would recommend the book, I’m not confident that those pages, at least, would receive positive responses in schools. Other pages are less ‘controversial’, such as “I dreamt that wars are always fought with flowers” and “I dreamt that phones could turn any hurtful words into songs”. My favorite page, I think, is “I dreamt that robbers are good for stealing nightmares”. I really like the book and think it could be a springboard for rich discussions with kids. At the very least those discussions can happen between parents and their kids, but hopefully in schools too.
    I agree also that the illustrations are incredible! Each time I read the book and study the art, I see things I didn’t see before. This is definitely a thought-provoking book that is meant to be read and discussed!

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