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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002

Hours

  • Thursday, Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

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Picture Books We Love

Read, Share, Dream: A Tribute to Yuyi Morales' Dreamers

Hi, It’s Eliza from The Carle Bookshop. This week we’re celebrating Children’s Book Week at home, inspired by this year’s theme: “Read. Dream. Share.” (see Carin Berger’s beautiful downloadable poster on this theme here.) Children’s books are one of the best ways to share and nurture dreams, especially in young readers. By reading books aloud to children, we’re not only entertaining them, but also sparking creativity and creating relationships between us and with the book. Within books are endless opportunities to learn, to make connections from the text and illustrations to our own lives, and to jumpstart the imagination into creating our own stories. 

 The book Dreamers propped in front of a bookcase of books. Cover of book shows a woman holding a baby, with a bird, a butterfly, and colorful flowers behind her. A sun?s rays shine behind her illuminating the title ?Dreamers? of the book.

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House, 2018) is the story of a young woman and her baby immigrating to a new country and navigating the strangeness in all that is new and unfamiliar, until they find comfort and a sense of belonging at the public library. Through books, and the artists and authors who have created them, the mother discovers a universal language of art, imagination, and acceptance. In an author’s note in the back, Yuyi Morales reveals this as her own personal story, coming from Mexico to Texas with her two-month-old son to start a new life in a strange and unfamiliar place and the inspiration and home she found in books. “Books became our language. Books became our home. Books became our lives.” 

Close up illustration from Dreamers shows a mother and child looking at a book, sitting on a giant flower in a library while books seem to come alive and float around them. Objects from within the books ? a fire truck, fish, a baseball ? also float around them, giving a magical surreal impression that the books are coming to life in their imagination as they read.

 

Through so many wonderful visual references to books in the illustrations, from classic literature to cherished picture books, Yuyi Morales pays homage to immigrants who have come before her, such as Peter Sis, Maira Kalman and Ed Young, as well as honoring the many authors and illustrators of color that overcame hardships to get their books published and their voices heard. She includes a complete listing at the end of the book of the referenced titles that inspired (and continue to inspire) her own writing and illustration. Her unique style of illustration, a combination of acrylic paint, ink and brushes and scanned photographs of significant items such as Mexican fabric, plants from her garden, or old walls from her hometown in Mexico, further instill the message of honoring your past while following your dreams to create something new.  

Close up illustration from Dreamers shows a mother pushing a baby in a stroller. The baby holds a library card and a copy of Nate the Great, while more books overflow from the bottom of the stroller. The mother?s backpack is also overflowing with books and characters from Mexican folklore follow after them, carrying books they may have dropped.  Two pairs of hands, the mother's and the child's, stretch across the opposite page as if they are holding the book in their hands. The text on the page reads, "Books became our language. Books became our home. Books became our lives..."

I see this book not only as a love story to books and to following one’s dream, but also a story of a mother’s love. It's a tribute to mothers who sacrifice so much for their children, especially poignant right now when mothers, parents, and caregivers are prioritizing their child’s schooling, activities, and needs at home, while juggling their own schedules, workloads, and fears during a new, unfamiliar time. As seen in Dreamers, comfort is always there in books. When things are scary or unfamiliar, we can always find a community in books. Comfort is there in dreams, in imagination, in hope. 

 

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