Here is a love confession to something old and something new--old like last year old, and I am talking about picture books of course, those that I read as 2009 was dying out and giving room to the New Year.
So, as I was finishing last year, these are the books that made me blush:
Love # 1: Diego: Bigger than Life, by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand and David Diaz.
The most felt book I read last year. If you want to know what I am talking about make sure to read the poem "No More Cezannes". However I was caught from the first book's lines: "What is life but a story? I choose to embellish my life story. / I am DIEGO--the charming, monstrous, caring, hideous, Mexican Muralist."
Love #2: Gracias, Thanks, by Pat Mora and John Parra.
Parra is becoming one of my favorite illustrators; his paintings remind me of living my childhood. Here is Mora's way of reminding us of all the ordinary, yet fantastic things to be grateful for: "For the sun that wakes me up so that I don't sleep for years and years and grow a long white beard, thanks"
Love #3: My Papa Diego and Me. By Guadalupe Rivera Marin and Diego Rivera.
Of course, if a book is illustrated with the paintings of Diego Rivera, the book has to be extraordinary. Even the endpapers are a vision. But what I didn't expect was that this book would be such of such a loving telling. Diego's daughter writes in the introduction, "When most people think of my father, Diego Rivera, they think of him as a famous painter. and they're right, he did grow up to be a famous painter. But before he became a famous artist, he was like you--a child." The selection of paintings are those that Diego painted of children, sometimes of Guadalupe herself, but also of mothers looking for a better life for their children, of piñatas being broken, of a coutry teacher giving reading lessons to children and adults alike. This book feels like looking at the family album while someone tells the stories behind.
Love #4: Jeremy Draws a Monster, by Peter McCarty.
What a detailed simple book! It is an ode to drawing, both in the story and in the art, and since drawing is one of my first loves, well, I adore this book.
Then 2010 began and got in the mail my copy of my first favorite book of the year. So, for something new...
My Shoes and I, by Rene Colato Lainez and Fabricio Vanden Broeck
I heard about this book a few years ago while Rene and I ran into each other boarding a flight to Texas. As Rene talked about writing this story I couldn't wait for this book to be released. Rene tells me that Fabricio actually recreated in the book the same shoes that Rene had when he as a boy came into the USA.