The Children's Book Compass

New Pam Munoz Ryan Book

Posted on: March 20, 2010

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan.  Illus. by Peter Sis.  (2010). 372 pages.  Scholastic.  Grades 5 and up.  Fiction.

Ryan imagines the boyhood of the Nobel Prize winning poet, Pablo Neruda.  Ryan tells us in her Author’s Note that The Dreamer is a work of fiction based on the events of Neruda’s childhood growing up in Chile.  That story is a poignant one of a timid youngster working hard to overcome a lonely childhood and the oppression of a domineering father.  His father was so ashamed of his son’s writing that Pablo Neruda later became the pen name of Neftali  Reyes.  Neftali loved to collect things- pinecones, seashells and other treasures from nature and was also passionate about reading and writng.  He spent his time in daydreaming, savoring the sounds of words.  As he wanders in the forest he writes in the damp earth:  “Slowly, he murmured the words to the trees, delighting in the tempos they played on his tongue.”  Ryan’s word choices paint vivid portraits of Neftali’s world.  Her language is poetic and is complimented by Peter Sis’ line drawings.  The sketches and the lyrical text combine biography, poetry and magical realism with themes of becoming your own person, social justice, and perseverance.  At the end of the book Ryan includes a sampling of Neruda’s poetry.

2 Responses to "New Pam Munoz Ryan Book"

I’m anxious to read this book!! I thoroughly enjoyed Ryan’s work in “Esperanza Rising”, plus I’ve read Pablo’s poetry.

Thank you for your comment – come to my office and get your free Janet Wong book! Marilyn

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Pointing the Direction to New Books for Children and Teens

Marilyn Carpenter, PhD.

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