The Dreamer

by Pam Muñoz Ryan and Peter Sís

A novel based on the childhood and young adulthood of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (born... read more

A novel based on the childhood and young adulthood of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (born Neftalí Reyes) is grounded in events and activities of the often tense family life of the poet’s early years, and his increasing awareness of class, race, and politics in Chile as he grew. Neftalí and his siblings were raised by a gentle mother and a domineering father who diminished his children’s dreams and sense of worth. An observant, sensitive child, Neftalí, like his older brother, both feared this man and longed for his approval. Pam Muñoz Ryan’s artful narrative, imbued with magical realism, is alive with Neftalí’s sensitivity and his love of sounds, words, and language. These become a source of discovery, solace, and transformation as he matures, giving him the means to explore and express his observations, dreams, and ideals that become increasingly political in nature. Ryan’s writing is beautiful, full of imagery suited to a story about a boy becoming a poet, while illustrations by Peter Sís feature a delicacy and strength suited to Neftalí’s character. (Age 10 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2011

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