Bright Star / Lucero by Yuyi Morales

Bright Star (9780823443284) / Lucero (9780823447848) by Yuyi Morales. Spanish translation by Eida Del Risco. Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Holiday House, 2021.

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Format: Hardcover

Genre:  Realistic fiction/picture book

What did you like about the book? A fawn is separated from its mother in the desert, at the border between Mexico and the U.S. After hiding and waiting, it searches for her, but a wall has gone up to prevent her from looking. Children are also hiding, and they are without parents as well. This story is told by the dreamlike artwork, while the text is the loving words of a parent or caregiver encouraging the young one – the “bright star” or “lucero” to “imagine a new story.”

The setting is a mystical borderlands, depicted by Morales using paint on paper, photographic images and textures (including a photograph of the arm of a baby she met at a migrant shelter), and yarn embroidery. The effect is otherworldly, yet we know it is very real. There are beautiful images of native animals, insects and plants, and these natural creatures also suffer from the wall. Morales adds notes at the end detailing her inspirations for the book, as well as facts about the borderlands.

The Spanish translation is faithful to the English version, and retains the poetic feel of the book.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book? For ages 4-8, for fans of Morales’ Dreamers and poetic books that offer a story that comments on social issues. It could also be read just for the beautiful illustrations for the youngest children.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: October 15, 2021

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