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Posted September 21, 2005
A Beautiful and Wonderful Life in Any Language
My Name Is Gabriela: The Life of Gabriela Mistral: Me Llamo Gabriela: La Vida de Gabriela Mistral Monica Brown, John Parra (Illustrator) This sublimely beautiful bilingual picture book biography of the very first Latin American writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (1945) begins with her own ardent words: ¿I love words and sounds and stories. My name of Gabriela Mistral. It is a name I chose myself because I like the sound of it.¿ In fact, when Gabriela Mistral was born in Chile in 1889, her parents named her Lucila Godoy Alcayaga. From a very early age Gabriela was passionate about three things ¿ beauty, language and teaching. She loved the majesty of the Andes Mountains that she could see from her bedroom window, but she was also in love with both the beauty and the sounds ascribed to simple things such as a butterfly fluttering. She yearned to teach and to write and she was successful in both fields. Precocious and gifted, she became a teacher at age fifteen. Gabriela Mistral not only loved telling stories, she loved hearing the stories of others, so she traveled whenever she could to Italy and France, Mexico and to New York City. She became renown for her poetry and stories and ultimately became the first Nobel Prize-winning Latina woman in the world. Drawing upon his own Hispanic background, artist John Parra has created an exceptionally evocative portrait of this great woman¿s life from childhood to the pinnacle of being recognized as one of the world¿s greatest writers. His visions of her youth and homeland are dreamlike while his images of Paris, Mexico City, and the Brooklyn Bridge are exuberant and superior folk art. While he incorporates particles of the mystical world often found in Hispanic art such as that of Frida Kahlo, his palette is subdued perhaps in order to best convey the peace and quiet love that symbolized Gabriela Mistral¿s life. A tribute to the book design is also in order. A bilingual book requires twice the space for text as a book solely in Spanish or English entails. Working miracles not unlike Mistral¿s, the book designer creates pages that seem alive, fully open, breathing sweet life and never, ever seeming crowded. My Name is Gabriela/Me llamo Gabriela is the second entry in what promises to be a stunning collection of portraits of people of Hispanic origins revealed in exquisitely told and illustrated bilingual picture book biographies. Monica Brown expertly chronicles lives of exceptional talent. Moreover, she is bringing to children the stories of great human beings whom they should know, honor, and emulate. Jerry D. FlackWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 22, 2012
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