[Blackstudies-l] First review of Junot Diaz’s forthcoming “Islandborn”

Maria Lima lima at geneseo.edu
Wed Dec 20 07:33:18 EST 2017


lisaparavisini posted: " Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item
to our attention. From Publishers' Weekly. Junot Díaz, illus. by Leo
Espinosa. Dial, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2986-0 From its very first
sentence, this first picture book from Díaz (The Brief Won"
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New post on *Repeating Islands*
<http://repeatingislands.com/author/lisaparavisini/> First review of Junot
Diaz’s forthcoming “Islandborn”
<http://repeatingislands.com/2017/12/20/first-review-of-junot-diazs-forthcoming-islandborn/>
by
lisaparavisini <http://repeatingislands.com/author/lisaparavisini/>

[image: 596f9f422100003400fc7ba1.jpg]

Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.

>From *Publishers' Weekly*.
<https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-7352-2986-0>

Junot Díaz, illus. by Leo Espinosa. Dial, $17.99 (48p) ISBN
978-0-7352-2986-0

>From its very first sentence, this first picture book from Díaz (*The Brief
Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao*) is both beautifully nuanced and instantly
comprehensible: “Every kid in Lola’s school was from somewhere else.” Lola
is from a place that she calls the Island, which adult readers will
recognize as the author’s native Dominican Republic, but she left as a
baby. When her teacher asks everyone to draw a picture of “the country you
were originally from, your first country,” Lola, who doesn’t remember the
Island herself, embarks on a quest through her tight-knit city neighborhood
to collect memories. Many recall the Island with fondness: nonstop music,
mangoes so sweet “they make you want to cry,” colors of every kind. “Even
the people are like a rainbow,” says one. But Lola also hears stories of
fear, hardship, and sadness; the super in her building recalls a reign of
terror by what he calls “the Monster” (dictator Rafael Trujillo) and the
courage it took to resist. As the story moves between past and present, the
Island and “the North,” and the microworlds of classroom, streets, and
home, the sweep of experience and emotion becomes unmistakably novelistic.
Reminiscence, reality, and Lola’s imagination similarly merge in Espinosa’s
effervescent, mural-like drawings (which eventually become the work Lola
presents to her class): bats soar through the air on blanket wings, and a
barbershop customer tears up while clutching a translucent mango. With his
tenacious, curious heroine and a voice that’s chatty, passionate, wise, and
loving, Díaz entices readers to think about a fundamental human question:
what does it mean to belong? Lola realizes it means both being cherished by
those around her and taking ownership of their collective memory. “Even if
I’d never set foot on the Island,” she tells the class, “it doesn’t matter:
The Island is me.” *Ages 5–8.*
*lisaparavisini <http://repeatingislands.com/author/lisaparavisini/>* |
December 20, 2017 at 2:19 am | Categories: News
<http://repeatingislands.com/category/news/> | URL: https://wp.me/psnTa-z4N

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