Yamile Saied Méndez; Jaime Kim (Illustrator)
Another incredible installment in the wave of diverse picture books we have seen emerge in the current publishing climate “Where Are You From?” Is a delightful and lyrical journey that is brilliantly illustrated and full of heart while tackling an essential and critical issue in every young POC’s experience.
When her classmates ask her where she is from, but refuse to accept her answer, our spunky young protagonist enlists the help of her Abuelo for answers and family history in this debut picture book from Méndez. The Abuela gives a soaring recount of their vast family history and culture, showing her granddaughter that there are a multitude of experiences, locations, traditions, and cultures that make up who we are and “where we come from”, that the truth of identity is not tied to a single piece of land but a tapestry of experiences.
This is a book that will encourage young minds to be inquisitive, and not take answers (even from their loved ones) at face value but look for deeper truth and understanding. I heavily recommend reading this book aloud, and using it to spark an ongoing conversation about cultural heritage as well as family traditions and history.
Matching the ambitious scope of this storybook’s narrative is the superior artwork of Jaime Kim. Using rich colors Kim brings to life a hyper stylized world that will keep young minds and eyes glued to each page as each imaginative sequence unfolds.
I highly recommend picking up what was one of the most entertaining reads (and re-reads) I encountered this year!
CRITICS HAVE SAID:
“A much-needed title that is a first purchase for libraries and classrooms.” – School Library Journal