Review by Megan Wright
Yuyi Morales’ Dreamers (Soñadores in its Spanish edition) tells the story of a journey from Mexico to the United States that Yuyi made with her son. At first they are intimidated by the “words unlike those of our ancestors” and refuse to speak. They struggle to adjust to their new home. Then they find the public library. The pair learn to read and to speak English. They use this new learning to discover their identities as the “soñadores,” the dreamers of the world.
Morales’ prose moves easily from English to Spanish, celebrating her bilingualism and rejecting the idea that learning English in the United States should require the abandonment of her first language. The mother declares, “we are two languages. We are lucha. We are resilience.” Rather than simply assimilating to American culture, the mother and son use books to open their imaginations to new possibilities and to make their own voices heard. Because of this creativity, resilience, and her ability to embrace two cultures, Morales went on to become a celebrated author and illustrator. While this book tells the story of a mother and son moving from Mexico to the United States, it can be appreciated by all immigrants and those who have experienced cultural difference. The multi-media illustrations create a beautiful picture of what it is like to adjust to a new land. Morales’ message about embracing cultural differences and thinking creatively will inspire readers to do the same.
Megan Wright is a 2nd grade Spanish immersion teacher and student in the Language Immersion Education M.Ed. program.