Have you ever imagined what you might be when you grow up? When he was very young, Juan Felipe Herrera picked chamomile flowers in windy fields and let tadpoles swim across his hands in a creek. He slept outside and learned to say good-bye to his amiguitos each time his family moved to a new town. He went to school and taught himself to read and write English and filled paper pads with rivers of ink as he walked down the street after school. And when he grew up, he became the United States Poet Laureate and read his poems aloud on the steps of the Library of Congress. If he could do all of that . . . what could you do? With this illustrated poem of endless possibility, Juan Felipe Herrera and Lauren Castillo breathe magic into the hopes and dreams of readers searching for their place in life.
What I loved: The illustrations here accompany the poem perfectly and are softly elegant, bringing the scenes to life with plenty of color and details. Young readers will find the text quite inspirational, as it reveals the many difficulties Herrera has overcome, inviting them to imagine their own difficulties and how they can overcome them. This would be a great book for a classroom, where racism/culture could be discussed as well as poetry and this position. This book is also a great #ownvoices read that certainly makes it worthwhile to experience. While it is autobiographical, it is not weighted down by facts but rather buoyed by them in poetry.
Final verdict: A great addition for the classroom or library, this lovely poem brings an inspirational autobiography to life with invitations to the reader to imagine and reach their own potential. Gorgeous illustrations accompanying the text have appeal for elementary schoolers of all ages.