Imagine

Juan Felipe Herrera

Book - 2018

"When Juan Felipe Herrera was very young, he picked flowers, helped his mama feed the chickens, slept under the starry sky, and learned to say goodbye to his amiguitos each time his migrant family moved on. When he grew up, Juan Felipe Herrera became a poet. His breathtaking poem "Imagine" and Lauren Castillo's evocative illustrations will speak to every reader and dreamer searching for this place in life."-- dust jacket.

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Subjects
Genres
Poetry
Picture books
Published
Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press 2018.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Item Description
"A Junior Library Guild selection."
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
ISBN
9780763690526
076369052X
Main Author
Juan Felipe Herrera (author)
Other Authors
Lauren Castillo (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

The Poet Laureate of the U.S. from 2015 to 2017, Herrera offers up a brief autobiography in free verse, encouraging readers to consider their future. As the son of migrant workers growing up in California, sensitive young Juan enjoys sleeping outside and admiring the flowers near his country home. Though his family moves many times, he finds that words are a constant that make him happy and give him freedom to create. Overcoming hardships, such as having to walk to the nearest town for water and entering school not knowing the English language, make him a stronger person. By putting words together, he finds he's able to write stories, poems, and songs. Castillo used foam monoprint and pen to beautifully illustrate the author's early life. Backgrounds have a soft, almost unfocused look, while specific objects are clearly outlined in a dark hue. Herrera's talents of speaking, singing, playing music, and writing poetry are inspiring. This quiet tale may motivate readers to reflect on their abilities and allow their imaginations to envision the opportunities that await them. Grades K-3. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Each stanza of this verse memoir by former U.S. Poet Laureate Herrera ends with the word "imagine." Is it a sigh, or is it an imperative? "If I let tadpoles/ swim across my hands/ in the wavy creek,/ imagine," he writes about his early childhood. Entering his English-speaking school was a challenge—he spoke Spanish—yet language fascinated him, and he began to write stories, poems, and songs: "If I grabbed a handful/ of words/ I had never heard and/ sprinkled them over a paragraph... imagine." As an adult, he stood on the steps of the Library of Congress as poet laureate. Now he fills out the sentence that begins with the word imagine: "Imagine what you could do." Spacious, light-filled spreads by Castillo (Nana in the City) conjure up landscapes of red earth, bright sun, and long views. Herrera writes of the joy of creation and discovery, and says little about the hardships he must have undergone. The story of a brown-skinned boy who "practiced/ spelling words/ in English by/ saying them in Spanish/ like—pehn-seel for/ pencil" reaching recognition as the nation's most lauded poet offers a heartening narrative of hope: "imagine." Ages 5–9. Illustrator's agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary. (Oct.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

K-Gr 4—A young child of migrant farmers spends his time picking flowers, playing with tadpoles, sleeping under the stars, helping with chores, and learning to say goodbye each time his family leaves their home for someplace new. The boy grows, eventually walking to a new school alone, knowing he cannot yet read or write English. He practices spelling in English by using what he knows in Spanish, and collects pens as well as words to write magnificent stories. He sings in front of his classmates, and learns guitar so that he can turn his poetry into songs. (If I picked up/my honey-colored guitar/and called out my poem/every day/until it turned into a song,/imagine.") Written by the master wordsmith himself, this work details Herrera's life as a young boy spending time outside and then as an adolescent learning to craft poetry, before ultimately receiving the honor of U.S. Poet Laureate as an adult. His words are accompanied by pen-and-foam monoprint illustrations that sweep across the page to create a soft, dreamy feeling, further encouraging readers to heed the author's recurring refrain: imagine. Readers will finish the story envisioning all the possibilities that may await them. VERDICT A beautifully illustrated poem that will be cherished by children. A first purchase.—Maggie Mason Smith, Clemson University, SC Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The former U.S. Poet Laureate and the Caldecott Honor-winning creator of Nana in the City trace the author's experiences as the son of migrant farmworkers, describe the sensory experiences that enriched his imagination and reflect on his pursuits of an education and writing career.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"When Juan Felipe Herrera was very young, he picked flowers, helped his mama feed the chickens, slept under the starry sky, and learned to say goodbye to his amiguitos each time his migrant family moved on. When he grew up, Juan Felipe Herrera became a poet. His breathtaking poem "Imagine" and Lauren Castillo's evocative illustrations will speak to every reader and dreamer searching for this place in life."--Jacket.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

In an autobiographical poem in prose, the former United States Poet Laureate recalls his early years as the son of migrant farm workers, his schooldays, and his career, and assures readers that if he could, they can imagine a different life.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A buoyant, breathtaking poem from Juan Felipe Herrera ' brilliantly illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Lauren Castillo ' speaks to every dreaming heart.Have you ever imagined what you might be when you grow up? When he was very young, Juan Felipe Herrera picked chamomile flowers in windy fields and let tadpoles swim across his hands in a creek. He slept outside and learned to say good-bye to his amiguitos each time his family moved to a new town. He went to school and taught himself to read and write English and filled paper pads with rivers of ink as he walked down the street after school. And when he grew up, he became the United States Poet Laureate and read his poems aloud on the steps of the Library of Congress. If he could do all of that . . . what could you do? With this illustrated poem of endless possibility, Juan Felipe Herrera and Lauren Castillo breathe magic into the hopes and dreams of readers searching for their place in life.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

A buoyant, breathtaking poem from Juan Felipe Herrera — brilliantly illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Lauren Castillo — speaks to every dreaming heart.Have you ever imagined what you might be when you grow up? When he was very young, Juan Felipe Herrera picked chamomile flowers in windy fields and let tadpoles swim across his hands in a creek. He slept outside and learned to say good-bye to his amiguitos each time his family moved to a new town. He went to school and taught himself to read and write English and filled paper pads with rivers of ink as he walked down the street after school. And when he grew up, he became the United States Poet Laureate and read his poems aloud on the steps of the Library of Congress. If he could do all of that . . . what could you do? With this illustrated poem of endless possibility, Juan Felipe Herrera and Lauren Castillo breathe magic into the hopes and dreams of readers searching for their place in life.