Reviews & Mentions
School Library Journal
Some Trends to Love: In her annual review of children's literature, Betsy Bird calls 'em as she sees 'em
BY ELIZABETH BIRD
Jan 10, 2020
'Speaking of which, current affairs and events in the news appeared frequently in books for young readers in 2019. Often, authors chose to address their subjects within the context of a metaphor. Consider the appearance of walls in picture books. Titles such as The Wall: A Timeless Tale by Giancarlo Macri and Carolina Zanotti with art by Mauro Sacco and Elisa Vallarino and Humpty Dumpty Lived Near a Wall by Derek Hughes and illustrated by Nathan Christopher, present walls as metaphorical bullies that need to be defeated. These books are fables, a form of storytelling that's out of fashion in today's era of stark realism.
Consider the same topic, but rendered in a realistic style. Books such as A Sky Without Lines by Krystia Basil, illustrated by Laura Borràs, and Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border by Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Sara Palacios, are unafraid to face the harsh truths embedded within the very real walls that exist on our borders today. The uptick in books for readers young and old about refugees further indicates a rise in realism.'
Why Do We Build the Wall, My Children, My Children?
BY ELIZABETH BIRD
Sept 11, 2019
'If you wish to escape metaphors and deal with reality, A Sky Without Lines by Krystia Basil, illustrated by Laura Borràs, looks at borders and walls with a bit more specificity. Though countries are never named, it seems pretty clear that this is a book about Mexico and America. Arturo, the child protagonist, is separated from his beloved older brother and father because they've gone to seek work on the other side of a wall. Arturo's love of his brother is honestly heartbreaking. So much so that when you read about his desire to fly because the sky itself has no lines and borders, you go with it.'
Oct. 1, 2019
Two brothers live separated by a line on a map.
Arturo fantasizes about overcoming the obstacles the line represents. Perhaps he can dig under it, swim through it, or build a bridge over it—anything to be with his older brother, Antonio, again, just like the cranes freely crossing the skies. He dreams of meeting his brother on the moon, where they can play fútbol with their faces gleaming from "the sticky sweetness of warm churros." Basil's story of borders implies a happy ending for a truncated family stuck in two different countries. But Barcelona-based artist Borràs' (Marwan's Journey, 2018) earth-toned watercolor landscapes feature the political reality of the United States–Mexico fence—the "line" running through the lives of Arturo and his family. The stylized images resemble marionettes with pupil-less, masklike faces; expressions are limited or nonexistent. Many of the double-page spreads are populated with fox-ish, ring-tailed creatures. Since neither foxes nor coyotes have ringed tails, it's difficult to decipher what they are. If coyotes, they may serve to call attention to the ubiquitous human traffickers known by the same name. The cranes' unfettered flight from one country to the next evokes Arturo's wish that where two lands meet there be no lines; after all, "he'd looked hard, and he'd seen no lines in the sky, none at all."
A provocative take on a world without borders. (Picture book. 5-9)