Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
Purchased (with library funds) from Bound to Stay Bound
Called a masterpiece by many, I fell in love with Dreamers immediately. Of course I am predestined to love a story that lifts up books and libraries, but I am especially moved by Morales's beautiful, economical, powerfully poetic story of coming to America with her infant son and becoming immigrants. Her stunning, layered multimedia illustrations are completely entrancing and I cannot stop poring over them, both for the story they tell, the vibrant life they convey and the abundance of details. And, I ALWAYS love, love, love a picture book that includes real books in the illustrations. I have spent hours poring over the pages, gleefully recognizing titles and imaging Morales, her son in her lap, reading, and also wondering what memories she has with these books, making them meaningful enough to be included in her illustrations. Happily, Morales includes a marvelous double page author's note, titled, "My Story," along with two more pages where she list the, "Books That Inspired Me (and Still Do)". A short, but intriguing, "How I Made this Book" paragraph rounds out the back matter.
Morales begins Dreamers with a powerful love, the birth of a child. Together, mother and child become, "Resplendent life, you and I." Together, they cross a bridge, "outstretched like the universe," and make it to the other side, "thirsty, in awe, unable to go back," becoming, "Migrantes, you and I." In this new land, "Unable to understand and afraid to speak," they make lots of mistakes,  but mother and child also become, "caminantes," walking all over the city that is  their new home.
And then they discover the library, "Suspicious. Improbable. Unbelievable. Surprising. Unimaginable. Where we didn't need to speak. We only needed to trust. And we did! Books became out language. Books became our home. Books became our lives. We learned to read, to speak, to write, and to make our voices heard."

Reading Dreamers, my greatest hopes for what I want my library to be for my students, almost all of them immigrants or the children of immigrants. First and foremost, I work to make my library a home for them, whether they come to read (or be read to) or to play cards, color, build with blocks, do a puzzle or do a dance. I want them to know they are welcome and will get a hug, if they want it. Only 40% of my students read at grade level, and I also work to get books on the shelves that they can, and want to, read. I work to find books that are mirrors for them, with the hopes that even one of them will grow up to write the Latinx Junie B. Jones or Magic Treehouse series that will sell millions and be on the shelves for decades. And, I work to inspire a curiosity for the world around them in the hope that they will want to explore on their own, be it with book, search engine or video. 

It is deeply rewarding to read Dreamers and know that books (and libraries) have been all these things for Yuyi Morales and that, in creating this stunning, unforgettable book, she wants to share the gifts that books and libraries have given her with readers everywhere.

Books written & illustrated by Yuyi Morales!

Books illustrated by Yuyi Morales

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