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2010 Award
The Dreamer
( by Pam Munoz Ryan/ illus. by Peter Sis, Scholastic $17.99 Score: )

Neftali, a Chilean boy struggles with a cruel, controlling father who finds fault with his children's artistic dreams. He is a practical man who demands that his older son give up music for a more sensible career. He forces Neftali and his little sister to swim in the sea, though they are deathly afraid of it. Neftali, the dreamer, finds sympathy from his mother, a favorite uncle who appreciates the boy's talents with words, and a librarian who gives the boy a hideout where he can escape to read and gather his odd collection of found objects. This imaginative work of historic fiction was inspired by the life of the poet Pablo Neruda, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. A collection of Neruda's poems follows the manuscript and Peter Sis's black and white illustrations have enough vagueness to make them mysterious. The print is oddly large, for the 9-14 suggested audience. It is a beautiful book, but may in fact appeal more to adults than children.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Review Published: Click here to purchase the product on

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