I am glad to be joining the Poetry Friday community again this week, hosted by the Mother of #DiverseKidLit, Katie of The Logonauts.
There were quite a number of astounding picturebooks published last year, and we thought it is a good way of catching up on these titles by devoting the first two months of the year on featuring the best of the best in books in 2016.
We Are Like The Clouds | Somos Como Las Nubes
Written by: Jorge Argueta Illustrated by: Alfonso Ruano Translated by: Elisa Amado
Published by: Groundwood Books, 2016 ISBN: 1554988497 (ISBN13: 9781554988495)
Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.
I have always been moved by the stories of refugees, immigrants, sanctuary-seekers. When I saw this book shared in the Facebook page of Jama Rattigan last year, I knew I couldn’t wait for it to be available in our libraries and that I have to purchase a copy for my research project on building a multicultural database for teachers.
I am also familiar with Alfonso Ruano’s art as I enjoyed his illustrations in The Composition (written by Antonio Skarmeta). In this book, though, he proverbially pulled out all the stops as each image is breathtaking and laden with drifting memories and infused with longing and pathos. I was especially taken by Argueta’s Author’s Note whereby he described what inspired him to create this book:
This collection of poems describes the odyssey that thousands of boys, girls and young people from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico undertake when they flee their countries because of extreme poverty and fear of violence. They abandon everything in hope of a better life.
I wrote these poems based on my experiences of working with these young people in El Salvador as well as in the United States. I have been able to share their experiences and listen to their testimonies.
I believe that it takes a different level of empathy bounded up by connectedness to transform evidently-painful experiences to something as transient and incandescent as floating clouds, offering a form of release through verse, which is what Argueta accomplished in this collection of poems. I also loved reading the bilingual poems aloud in Spanish, a language I studied when I was a college undergraduate and which my paternal grandmother spoke fluently as part of her native tongue.
For my Poetry Friday offering, I thought of sharing this lovely poem entitled We Sing found in this beautiful collection that should definitely be part of your library.