Bright Star

Holiday House/Neal Porter. Sept. 2021. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823443284.
PreS-Gr 3–In an author’s note, Morales states that she used “the most beautiful things I could find” to make this book: words in English and Spanish, drawings, paint, wool, and photographed textures. Beauty gleams from the pages in soft, sunrise pink, as a whitetail fawn wakes in a patch of desert plants and explores its environment with its mother. The text addresses a “Child,” which may refer to the fawn or to a reader; observers will also notice hummingbirds (whose wings blur as they hover), tortoises, insects, and cacti. In a dramatic spread, the pink shifts from the color of a sunrise to that of a wound, as the fawn and other desert creatures confront the harsh vertical barrier of the border wall, topped with curls of barbed wire and surrounded by pieces of chopped-down cacti. Night falls as does rain; bats emerge and the desert teems with life. In a new dawn, the fawn curls among pink and yellow flowers; on the following page, a brown-skinned girl is in the fawn’s place, peering over her shoulder, directly at readers. On the final spread, six people stand or sit, their gazes out and up, under the refrain, “You are a bright star inside our hearts,” transforming the art into a message of love and hope that honors children everywhere, especially migrant children.
VERDICT Morales shares her love for the borderlands, shows the pain the border wall inflicts, and presents an invitation to learn more. Recommended for all collections.

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