Thought I’d give Dreamers a quick flip-through when I saw it at Elliott’s Bay Book Company on Saturday. Yeah, there was no just flipping-through Dreamers. Morales invites you to linger over and savor the work.
Hardcover, 40 pages. Picture Book.
Dreamers are those who bring life into the world, and nurture it.
Yuyi Morales’ latest picture Dreamers opens with a woman telling her newborn son that she dreamt of him. She dreams of a story and sets out to tell it in words and pictures. Her dream is composed of a collection of color and texture and symbols and wonder along a journey.
Mother and son become immigrants. They are confronted with difficulties any change in country, culture, language would bring. You see a mother attempting to find her way as well as nurturing spaces for herself and her child. And eventually they find it.
The public library proved to be the kind of hospitable space where she and her son could bring their dreams to life; unpack that backpack and the stories they’d brought with them. The library offered her and her son an opportunity to she learn what they needed to in order move about in their new country, within languages and expressions.
Dreamers had me thinking about how new adventures like motherhood, emigrating or creating art are courageous acts. It takes a courage to nurture and sustain the kind of life those acts bring. But Morales uses the word dream, not courage. New adventures that create new life, and the nurturing of those adventures, those lives, actually require a dream. A dream as impetus and provision.
Dreamers also inspired a sad reminder that the mythos we’ve developed, that our country is welcoming is just that, myth—a story we tell ourselves. We as a collective may have a desire to claim hospitality or opportunity, but only a small number of us are actually doing the work. And those spaces, like the public library struggle to stay open and available. So many of our librarian-nurtured-spaces in schools have disappeared; too many of our librarian-dreamers denied a place.
Our mother, artist, immigrant is in need of a safe nurturing place and when she finds it, the pages explode with creative energy. The child, a dreamer himself, grows. You can’t help but think of how much of a creative, life-giving force the creator of Dreamers has brought with her and to us as an immigrant. I think about the amazing picture books her dreams have manifested; how many people she’s inspired, educated, entertained…; how many she’s nurtured with color and texture and wonder.
She did these things because she dreamed—the woman in the picture book and the woman who created Dreamers. She was able to dream because she was inspired, by the life forming itself around and within her. She was able to pursue her dream because there were others who dreamed of places/opportunities where dreams could be nurtured and pursued.
Dreamers is a celebration of the creative human spirit that invites you to participate. Create an opportunity to read this picture book. You’ll need more than a few minutes to flip through it. You’ll want to experience the wonder of a dream and a life, and more than twice.
additional reading you’ll want to indulge.
Yuyi Morales visits ‘7-Imp’ with a photo essay on “The Making of Dreamers.” She talks materials, inspirations, and walks you through images.
Morales [who has since returned to Mexico] Talks with Roger over at The Horn Book. “Living in the United States, there’s so much you have to change and adapt so that you don’t suffer. You’ve got to become another person. And then coming back here, even though I felt like I’m going back home, and my family is here, it sent me to that place where I needed to think about my identity, who I was, this person who seems to be a constant immigrant.”
all images are Yuyi Morales', except the HHM button.