Dreamers / Soñadores by Yuyi Morales

Hi, Yuyi Morales! I cannot say enough WONDERFUL things about Dreamers/Soñadores. I haven’t stopped thinking and talking about it since I experienced you reading it aloud during the Children’s Book and Author Breakfast at Book Expo. Thank you for sharing your heart and soul with the world.

Yuyi: Hi, Mr. Schu! My corazón is in that book because it is a tribute to the people and the places that received me and that were part of my growing up as a new immigrant, a mother, and a creative person. Thank you so much for giving space to my history and my voice to be heard.

I wrote the words in purple, and Yuyi wrote the words in black. 

Dreamers/Soñadores tells the story of how one day my baby son, Kelly, and I arrived in the United States and became immigrants. It is the story of how difficult it was at first to come to a place where I didn’t understand the language and I could not be understood, thus made a number of mistakes. And how one day we found a marvelous place called the public library, a discovery that changed our lives forever! It is also a story of how immigrants bring incredible gifts when they come to a new country to live. 

Xalapa is a city where it rains almost every day, where on a clear morning you can see Citlaltépetl, the highest mountain in Mexico, and where orchids grow in the fog-forest areas. It is also the place where I have my studio nowadays. I make my books surrounded by trees, butterflies, insects, tiny frogs, hummingbirds, my dogs Mojo and Iztaccihuatl, and even bats that fly at night! It is also the city where I was born fifty years ago. 

Illustration Credit: Yuyi Morales 
September 4 is going to be the birthday of my newest book Dreamers, and to celebrate, I am going to read it aloud to many children and families! To make the celebration even better, I am also going to read Soñadores, which is the Spanish version of my immigrant story. I am also going to cheer, ay, ay, ay, ajua!

Story is an act of love in which we use our voice to share, and where we also listen to the voices that help us remember (and never forget!) that living has meaning.  

School libraries are the fruit of resistance! They fight to exist even when they’re at risk of disappearing when budgets are being cut, and when their value is questioned. They are there, fighting to grow and ready to receive readers even in the most difficult of times. They are sanctuary spaces that welcome you and get you when no one else might.      

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me…”Yuyi, do you like snakes? Why on earth did you put them in your book Dreamers?” and I would answer you, Mr. Schu, that I like snakes very much, even though I know I should be careful if I see one. The other day, I visited a snake living on Xochimilco Lake in Mexico City, and I was able to let her coil around my arm! Anyway, I know now that I should be careful not only because a snake might get afraid and defend itself, but also because all animals need our care and love—and I should be careful to not hurt them with my actions. I would have told you, Mr. Schu, that after many years of living in this earth, I finally understand that animals have so much to teach us; they are our maestros. And the reason I put snakes in my book (see if you can find them, there are two), is because I wanted to honor how the animals that we usually fear are, in reality, our teachers. They represent thoughts, feelings and experiences that might be difficult or scary for us, but if we look hard, we would see that those same fears make us grow, and be better and more compassionate walkers on this earth.

Look for Dreamers / Soñadores on September 4, 2018. 


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