#blogbookaday: Islandborn

1 Apr

35631757.jpgSummary:  “From New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz 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.” (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Lola lives in a diverse community and so when her teacher asks the class to draw a picture of where they immigrated from, everyone is so excited. But, Lola doesn’t remember The Island, her birthplace. Her family left before she made any memories there. But, with the help of her family and friends in the neighborhood, Lola uses her imagination to create the place where she was born and where she still has a strong connection to – even when not all the memories are bright and cheery.

Personal Reaction: From the moment I set my eyes on the cover of this book, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. It’s an absolutely beautiful cover and the illustrations when you open it are just as lovely – bright colors, diverse people and a celebration of where you came from. Although this has a lot more text than the usual picture books I read, I thought that Díaz did an amazing job of not only showing the beautiful parts of a person’s homeland, but also addressing the reason why so many people left Lola’s amazing island. I was also a huge fan of the descriptions of where each child in Lola’s class came from – not using actual locations, but descriptions of the region that could very well encompass many countries that kids could relate to – even Lola, she always refers to her place of birth as The Island, with capital letters making it a very specific place, but one that could describe a number of islands sprinkled around the globe.

This beautiful story would be a great one to share, not only in diverse classrooms, but classrooms where maybe everyone’s family has lived in the same community for a few generations – a way to share that everyone comes from somewhere and a way to gather the memories of your family and learn more about yourself.

Title: Islandborn
Author: Junot Díaz
Illustrator: Leo Espinosa
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: March 13, 2018

#blogbookaday (1)This is a new idea I’m trying on my blog this year that was inspired by @donalynbooks and @heisereads – to provide a brief review of a picture book every day of 2018. You’ll get a brief summary of the story, a review of the content, illustrations and theme, my personal reaction to the book and all the pertinent publication information! Enjoy!


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