The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan and Peter Sis

Neftali is a dreamer, who finds beauty and joy in the smallest of things–a white feather, a pine cone, a shell, a beetle.  Unfortunately, his father, a railroad worker, sees such dreaming as weakness and does everything possible to toughen up Neftali.  He forces Neftali to swim in the ocean every summer and burns his notebooks of poetry.  Somehow through it all, Neftali clings to his dreams and grows up to become the  powerful poet Pablo Neruda.

Pam Muñoz Ryan and Peter Sis bring to life a fictional account of Neruda’s childhood in The Dreamer (Scholastic 2010).  They weave the story together with biographical facts, musical poetry, dreamlike illustrations, magical realism, and haunting questions.  My favorite part is the questions.  Each echoes the action of the story and leads in many directions.  Here’s a video of the questions and some of the illustrations from the text.

Did you know Pablo Neruda wrote in green ink because he thought green was the color of hope?  This book is printed in green ink.

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