Junot Díaz, Leo Espinosa (Illustrator)
From New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner Junot D#65533;az comes a debut picture book about the magic of memory and the infinite power of the imagination.   Every kid in Lola's school was from somewhere else. Hers was a school of faraway places.   So when Lola's teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from, all the kids are excited. Except Lola. She can't remember The Island--she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories--joyous, fantastical, heartbreaking, and frightening--Lola's imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back to The Island.  As she draws closer to the heart of her family's story, Lola comes to understand the truth of her abuela's words: "Just because you don't remember a place doesn't mean it's not in you."   Gloriously illustrated and lyrically written, Islandborn is a celebration of creativity, diversity, and our imagination's boundless ability to connect us--to our families, to our past and to ourselves.


Reviewed: 2020-12-01

Lola has no memory of the Island she came from and feels isolated among the other children in her class, who often share memories of where are from. When the teacher assigns each student to draw a picture of their homeland, Lola relies on the memories of her family and neighbors to inspire her drawings. The simple and eye-catching illustrations become more and more colorful and fantastic as Lola adds each memory she hears to her notebook. Almost everyone Lola speaks with has fond memories; but when Mr. Mir, the superintendent of her building, is asked about the Island, he replies, “Just be glad that you live here.” The reader then begins to understand that many of the memories shared with Lola focus on all the good and none of the bad. Determined to know more, Lola presses on and decides to collect all of the memories, even the ones that may be difficult to hear. 

In his book, Junot DÍaz seems to effortlessly simplify complex topics like feeling disconnected from one’s homeland, staying connected to your culture through your community, the negative and positive feelings that come along with immigrating, and leaving a beloved homeland to escape dangerous situations. These difficult subjects are presented in subtle ways through words and illustrations that can easily be understood by younger audiences. The illustrations work in tandem with the story to convey both the tone and emotions of the memories of the Island. Happier memories are more colorful, silly, and imaginative, while the more serious memories are shown in dark, muted colors to convey fear and hopelessness. Despite the serious topics tackled in this tale, DÍaz champions hope, strength, and belonging as the overarching themes of this beautiful story.

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@agingerich completed #islandborn... on 2019-07-02
@agingerich began #islandborn... on 2019-07-02