illus. by Lauren Castillo. 32p. Candlewick. Oct. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763690526.
RedReviewStarK-Gr 4—A young child of migrant farmers spends his time picking flowers, playing with tadpoles, sleeping under the stars, helping with chores, and learning to say goodbye each time his family leaves their home for someplace new. The boy grows, eventually walking to a new school alone, knowing he cannot yet read or write English. He practices spelling in English by using what he knows in Spanish, and collects pens as well as words to write magnificent stories. He sings in front of his classmates, and learns guitar so that he can turn his poetry into songs. (If I picked up/my honey-colored guitar/and called out my poem/every day/until it turned into a song,/imagine.") Written by the master wordsmith himself, this work details Herrera's life as a young boy spending time outside and then as an adolescent learning to craft poetry, before ultimately receiving the honor of U.S. Poet Laureate as an adult. His words are accompanied by pen-and-foam monoprint illustrations that sweep across the page to create a soft, dreamy feeling, further encouraging readers to heed the author's recurring refrain: imagine. Readers will finish the story envisioning all the possibilities that may await them.
VERDICT A beautifully illustrated poem that will be cherished by children. A first purchase.

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