Isla to island

Alexis Castellanos

Book - 2022

"A wordless graphic novel in which twelve-year-old Marisol must adapt to a new life 1960s Brooklyn after her parents send her to the United States from Cuba to keep her safe during Castro's regime"--

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Subjects
Genres
Graphic novels
Wordless comics
Historical comics
Coming-of-age comics
Comics (Graphic works)
Bildungsromans
Published
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers 2022.
Language
English
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : chiefly illustrations (some color) ; 23 cm
Audience
Ages 10 up
Grades 7-9
ISBN
9781534469242
1534469249
9781534469235
1534469230
Main Author
Alexis Castellanos (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

When Castro comes to power in Cuba, Marisol's life in Havana turns upside down. Her warm, vibrant island home has become violent and dangerous. Her parents sneak her out of the country in the hope of keeping her safe, and Marisol eventually arrives in New York City, speaking no English, to live with people she doesn't know, who speak no Spanish. As kind as the couple are, they aren't family, and Marisol must learn to cope alone with a new school, bullies, and a winter where it snows and the trees are bare. But slowly, with the help of English lessons, books from the library, and guardians who try very hard to find ways to make Marisol feel at home, color slowly comes back into Marisol's life just as the trees begin to blossom. Almost completely wordless, the book is easy to follow. The illustrations make the story line clear through changing facial expressions, colors, and a clever use of metaphor. An afterword explaining Operation Pedro Pan is included. A different kind of immigrant story uniquely told. Grades 5-8. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

When Castro comes to power in Cuba, Marisol's life in Havana turns upside down. Her warm, vibrant island home has become violent and dangerous. Her parents sneak her out of the country in the hope of keeping her safe, and Marisol eventually arrives in New York City, speaking no English, to live with people she doesn't know, who speak no Spanish. As kind as the couple are, they aren't family, and Marisol must learn to cope alone with a new school, bullies, and a winter where it snows and the trees are bare. But slowly, with the help of English lessons, books from the library, and guardians who try very hard to find ways to make Marisol feel at home, color slowly comes back into Marisol's life just as the trees begin to blossom. Almost completely wordless, the book is easy to follow. The illustrations make the story line clear through changing facial expressions, colors, and a clever use of metaphor. An afterword explaining Operation Pedro Pan is included. A different kind of immigrant story uniquely told. Grades 5-8. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In a graphic novel that opens in 1958 Cuba, portrayed in lushly colored tropical scenes, Marisol Alabarce leads a vibrant life with loving parents who encourage her interest in books, food, and plants. Political trouble soon stirs as Fidel Castro assumes power, and when military presence, scarcity, and violence descend, Marisol's parents fear for her safety. They send her alone to New York via a Catholic relief program, to live in Brooklyn with an elderly couple who read as white. But adjusting is not easy, and Marisol deplanes into a New York City rendered almost entirely in grayscale art, soon navigating school, learning English, and missing her family in Cuba. When she encounters the school library and rediscovers her love for plants—moments that utilize brilliant pinks and greens amid the gray—her world slowly regains color. Employing spare text in the form of signs and radio chatter in Spanish and English, debut creator Castellanos effectively uses color as a vehicle to portray Marisol's loving life with her family in Cuba, despair at their separation, and slow arc to a new life in which she honors her Cuban identity through food and music. Back matter includes a recipe, author's note, and further resources. Ages 10–up. Agent: Marietta Zacker, Gallt & Zacker. (Mar.)¦ Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In a graphic novel that opens in 1958 Cuba, portrayed in lushly colored tropical scenes, Marisol Alabarce leads a vibrant life with loving parents who encourage her interest in books, food, and plants. Political trouble soon stirs as Fidel Castro assumes power, and when military presence, scarcity, and violence descend, Marisol's parents fear for her safety. They send her alone to New York via a Catholic relief program, to live in Brooklyn with an elderly couple who read as white. But adjusting is not easy, and Marisol deplanes into a New York City rendered almost entirely in grayscale art, soon navigating school, learning English, and missing her family in Cuba. When she encounters the school library and rediscovers her love for plants—moments that utilize brilliant pinks and greens amid the gray—her world slowly regains color. Employing spare text in the form of signs and radio chatter in Spanish and English, debut creator Castellanos effectively uses color as a vehicle to portray Marisol's loving life with her family in Cuba, despair at their separation, and slow arc to a new life in which she honors her Cuban identity through food and music. Back matter includes a recipe, author's note, and further resources. Ages 10–up. Agent: Marietta Zacker, Gallt & Zacker. (Mar.)¦ Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 5 Up—In 1961 Cuba, revolution and violence convince Marisol's parents to make the difficult decision to send their daughter to safety in the United States. Though this wordless graphic novel begins in full, tropical color, when Marisol lands in New York, the only color is in the red flower her father tucked behind her ear; the people and setting are in grayscale, and the speech bubbles are empty or filled with scribbles, representing the English that Marisol cannot yet understand. The two older adults who take Marisol in are kind, but she cannot communicate with them; the first comfort Marisol finds is in a school library book about trees. Her hosts take her to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where plants in the greenhouse are rendered in vibrant color. As winter thaws into spring, Marisol's life gains color through library books, plants, and food. Her hosts cook with her (from a Cuban cookbook from the school librarian), build her bookshelves, and buy plants for her room. When she enters seventh grade the following fall, Marisol's world is fully in color, and she has the courage to speak to her classmates in English. Family photos serve as an epilogue; back matter includes a recipe, a list of further reading, and a note about Operation Peter Pan, the 1960–62 exodus of young Cubans (when Fidel Castro took power, many parents, terrified that their children would be taken from them, sent their kids to the United States). Marisol and her family are Latinx; the older adults who take her in are white. VERDICT This historical graphic novel is an inspiring, empathy-building story, accessible to all readers.—Jenny Arch Copyright 2021 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Sent from Cuba to Brooklyn by her parents, Marisol feels like nothing about her new life in the cold, gray city is home, until she starts to realize that home isn’t always a place. Simultaneous & eBook. Illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"A wordless graphic novel in which twelve-year-old Marisol must adapt to a new life 1960s Brooklyn after her parents send her to the United States from Cuba to keep her safe during Castro's regime"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

This stunning wordless graphic novel follows a young girl in the 1960s who immigrates from Cuba to the United States and must redefine what home means to her.

Marisol loves her colorful island home. Cuba is vibrant with flowers and food and people…but things are changing. The home Marisol loves is no longer safe—and then it’s no longer her home at all. Her parents are sending her to the United States. Alone.

Nothing about Marisol’s new life in cold, gray Brooklyn feels like home—not the language, school, or even her foster parents. But Marisol starts to realize that home isn’t always a place. And finding her way can be as simple as staying true to herself.