There was exciting news this week for Scholastic: Pam Muñoz Ryan’s The Dreamer was just selected as a 2010 Horn Book Fanfare Book! This distinction is awarded to the best children’s books of the year, and we couldn’t be happier for Pam and her very deserving book.
The Dreamer, beautifully illustrated by Peter Sís, documents a fictional account of Pablo Neruda’s early life as a boy in Chile. The story follows Neftalí Reyes, a little boy with big dreams and a great love of words, nature, and the world around him. Neftalí is shy and creative, and a constant disappointment to his cruel father who wants to toughen his son up. It is Neftalí’s imagination that takes him away from his overbearing father and taunting schoolmates into a world where words dance off the pages of books and where Neftalí is transported to lands he’s only ever read about.
The book is sprinkled with poetry and illustrations that are almost reminiscent of one of my favorite stories, The Little Prince. They complement Ryan’s story so perfectly that you shouldn’t be surprised if you, too, are transported to those distant lands along with Neftalí!
Pam Muñoz Ryan (whom I actually got to meet at the National Council of Teachers of English conference this year!!) is the celebrated author of multicultural titles like the Pura Belpré Medal–winning Esperanza Rising and Riding Freedom.