October 9, 2019

Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Mendez, illustrated by Jaime Kim

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 5:35 pm by suebe2

Where Are You From?
by Yamile Saied Mendez,
illustrated by Jaime Kim
Harper

This story is about a little girl who doesn’t look like everyone around her. Because of this, children and adults alike assume she is from somewhere else.

Where are you from? they ask.

Is your mom from here?

Is your dad from there? they ask.

This is a book that could quickly become a sermon, or a protest sign, but Mendez gives our young narrator a problem that resonates in today’s world and an abuelo. When he could lecture, abuelo spins a story about the many lands their ancestors called home.  He talks about guacho and the pampas, condors and mountains and far off lands.  But what he’s really telling her about is family.

Jaime Kim’s illustrations bring this story to life.  She creates a diverse variety of characters, children and adults, who pose these questions to the young narrator.  Then she creates a smiling abuelo who spins a story of exotic seeming locals that are in some ways very familiar – they are full of families. The story ends as abuelo and our character return home, to a place full of a wide variety of people.

Kim combines watercolors and digital techniques to create the illustrations for this book.  I think my favorite illustration is the one of the Andes and the condors or maybe it is when the pair are on horseback on the pampas.

If you haven’t read this picture book, I’d definitely recommend it for a great way to teach without preaching.  It is subtle, sweet and relatable.  Give it a place on the bookshelf in your classroom, office and home.  It will act as a great jumping off place for readers young and adult to discuss identity and their understanding of others as well as self-acceptance.

–SueBE

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