Calling the Doves / El canto de las palomasby Juan Felipe Herrera, Elly Simmons
The author recalls his childhood in the mountains and valleys of California with his farmworker parents who inspired him with poetry and song.
School Library JournalGr 1-3-A rich, personal narrative about growing up as a migrant farmworker. Herrera relates how he learned to love the land from his father, and poetry from his mother. He uses lyrical passages to portray everyday life, e.g., the ritual of breakfast: ``The sky was my blue spoon,/the wavy clay of the land was my plate.'' The colored-pencil and acrylic illustrations are bright and at times fanciful. Simmons's artwork brings to life Herrera's words, which are printed in both English and Spanish, and reinforces his imagery. The page layout varies, but is appropriate for the mood of the story. The combination of a beautiful text and radiant paintings makes Calling the Doves an excellent bilingual picture book.-Maria Redburn, Collier County Public Library, Immokalee, FL
Annie Ayresnger for reading aloud. In lyrical and imagistic prose, prominent Mexican American poet Juan Felipe Herrera has written a bilingual memoir of his childhood as the beloved son of migrant farmworkers traveling from harvest to harvest in a truck towing their little square loaf house along the roads winding through the mountains and valleys of California. Embraced by the love of his family, Herrera was set on his own road to becoming a writer. "As the cities came into view, I knew one day I would follow my own road. I would let my voice fly the way my mother recited poems, the way my father called the doves." Composed in the style of robust murals, Simmons' lushly colored, creamy illustrations pulsate with a multitude of images as they chart the landscapes of Herrera's childhood heartland. Certainly a welcome alternative to the usually bleak portrayal of the migrant farmworker experience, this is an inspirational self-portrait of a loving Latino family. A poetic picture-book memoir that will add beauty to any literature, Latino culture, or biography collection.
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