For Those Who Dream (Benjamin Carroll)

Hello, friends! Our book today is For Those Who Dream by Benjamin Carroll, a meditation on dreams and dreamers.

Dreams are incredible things. They are universes of limitless possibilities that exist in our very own heads, and can enable us to do and be whatever we believe! Whether it’s flying a rocket ship to outer space, scaling a mighty mountain, or being a leader that brings people together, you can be anything in your dreams. Yet the important thing is to know that dreams can take shape, and can become reality. With work, effort, and patience, each dreamer might find that their dreams can become real.

Big on style, low on substance. This indie title has lofty aspirations itself, but unfortunately falters often in the execution. The meter of the rhyming text is wildly inconsistent, frequently forcing in awkward phrases and unusual or inaccurate syntax that makes reading this one aloud extremely difficult. The message is earnest, and this does come though, but it gets lost all too often in clunky phrasing. What this title does have going for it are the gorgeous illustrations, which feature a diverse cast of children and a beautiful visual theme of beaming, golden dreams. While artwork is often the weakest element of indie picture books, these illustrations have a unique style and incredible charm. Otherwise, the length is fine for a storytime, and JJ enjoyed the soft and soothing art. This is a tough call, as two of the main elements are at odds with one another quality-wise, but overall, this one is worth a look for some beautiful artwork and a timeless, if somewhat poorly executed, theme. Baby Bookworm approved.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Dreamers (Yuyi Morales)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Dreamers by Yuyi Morales, a breathtakingly beautiful love letter to a Dreamer.

“I dreamed of you, then you appeared. Together we became Amor – Love – Amor.” So begins a love letter from a mother to her baby, and the story of their journey together. Bundling their only belongings on her back, the mother takes her infant across a bridge to a new land. Leaving all she knows behind and unable to go back, she places her faith in the promise their new home holds, of education and opportunity. The language spoken is unlike her own, but she tries, until the day when she stumbles upon another place of education and promise: a public library. She marvels that the library opens their arms, sharing books and language and trust and safety. As her son grows, she and he both use the books and resources to learn, to adapt, and to stretch their dreams ever higher. “We are stories. We are two languages. […] We are dreamers, soñadores of the world.”

Stunning. A deeply personal tale told in an ecstatically beautiful way, Morales channels her immigration experience into a factual story with a fantastical look. Every word of the quietly powerful text has intent, each element of the mixed media art a nod to the author’s past, present, and future (Morales details the story and items that inspired the book and its visuals in the backmatter). It’s not just one love letter, but many – from mother to son, from patron to library, from reader to book, from immigrant to both home countries – all folded into a story that inspires, relates, and deeply moves. The length was great, JJ and I adored it, and I can’t recommend it enough. Baby Bookworm approved.