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Author: Diaz, Junot
Lola was just a baby when her family left the Island, so when she has to draw it for a school assignment, she asks her family, friends, and neighbors about their memories of her homeland ... and in the process, comes up with a new way of understanding her own heritage.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.40
Points: .5 Quiz: 194007
Kirkus Reviews (02/15/18)
School Library Journal (+) (02/01/18)
Booklist (+) (02/15/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/04/18)
The Hornbook (00/05/18)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2018 K-Gr 3—When Ms. Obi asks her students to draw a picture of the country they are originally from, the children are excited. All except for Lola, "What if you left before you could start remembering?" As Lola talks to some of her neighbors from the Island to draw from their memories, she learns of bats as big as blankets; a love of music and dancing; coconut water and sweet mangoes. And an island where "Even the people are like a rainbow—every shade ever made." With a place so beautiful, Lola wonders, why did people leave? Reluctantly, Mr. Mir, the building superintendent, tells her of a Monster that fell upon their Island and did as he pleased for 30 years. Though never mentioned by name, the country in question is the Dominican Republic. The Monster refers to the dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. Lola learns from her assignment that "Just because you don't remember a place doesn't mean it's not in you." Espinosa's gloriously vibrant mixed-media illustrations portray a thriving community living under the shadow of the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan. As Lola learns more about her Island, the illustrations cleverly incorporate a plethora of tropical plants and color, bringing to life both Lola's neighborhood and La Isla. Lola, a Spanish language edition, is ably translated by Mlawer and publishes simultaneously. VERDICT A sensitive and beautiful story of culture, identity, and belonging—a superb picture book outing for Díaz and one to be shared broadly in a variety of settings.—Lucia Acosta, Children's Literature Specialist, Princeton, NJ - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/15/2018 *Starred Review* Lola attends a school in which the majority of students, whose skin tones range from tan to deep brown, are “from somewhere else.” When the teacher instructs her class to draw a picture of what each child’s original country looks like, the young girl is stymied. She was an infant when her family immigrated to the U.S. and has no memories of her birthplace. As Lola and her cousin walk home through their neighborhood, they discover that almost everyone is happy to share their memories of “the Island.” The beaches, the music, the fruits, and the colors come alive for the youngster and create a feeling of pride in her heritage. Along with all the happy memories are remembrances of struggles after a hurricane and a defeated “monster,” which adults may recognize as a former dictator. The exuberant, brightly colored illustrations are filled with a child’s interpretation of the memories and fill the double-page spreads with details to pore over. This important title will be enjoyed by young children and may spark many significant discussions. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.