December 20, 2018


There was no way I could get away with reviewing beautifully illustrated books all year long and not post about Dreamers by Yuyi Morales. Dreamers is the story of how Morales left her home in Xalapa, Mexico and came to the US with her infant son in 1994.

Passage to the United States was not easy for Morales and her son: Morales didn't speak any English, and all they brought with them were the clothes on their backs. But together they discovered the public library, and as they read the books within it, their minds expanded and they formed dreams for themselves, dreams of what they could become and dreams of having their voices heard. Morales chronicles her experiences with lyrical text that pinpoints how family, trust, and dreams motivate us to become anything we want.

Part of what makes this book so special is how Morales made her illustrations. In fact, she devotes a nice-sized paragraph to describing her process in the back of the book. Morales details how she used acrylics and ink on paper, but to supplement the illustrations she photographed and scanned mementos from her personal experiences, like childhood drawings kept by her mother, her first handmade book, a traditional wool shirt from Chiapas, and even the comal where she grills her quesadillas. This book is all Morales, and it's a beautifully optimistic look at her experiences of coming to the US and starting a new life when the odds were stacked against her.

Dreamers published from Neal Porter Books earlier this year.

Favorites of the year are coming up next! Casewraps, comics, then picture books. Stay tuned!

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