Lola and her classmates are mostly from “someplace else” but now call here home. A school project to draw what you remember best about that first place has Lola unsure of herself (after all, she was just a baby when she left and has no memories from then). Yet, she quickly figures out how to use the resources around her: her family, friends, neighbors and even the memory the island has of her, to capture her heritage. Adults will see current and historical events and experience what being a modern immigrant is all about. Everyone will delight in the colorful Caribbean-infused illustrations that bring to life a magical story. — Jeanette
— Penguin Kids
Celebrated adult novelist Junot Diaz writes a beautiful children's picture book with some pretty incredible, colorful art by Leo Espinosa. Lola's teacher assigns her students to draw a picture of where they emigrated from. Only problem is, Lola cannot remember the Island where she was born, because she left when she was just a baby. Lola goes on a heartwarming journey to learn about her first home from those who remember it best. — Josh Cohen-Peyton
Spring 2018 Kids’ Indie Next List
“Islandborn is a delightful picture book about celebrating your heritage. Lola's teacher has asked the class to draw a picture of their first home. While the whole room grows loud with excitement over what they will draw, Lola sits quietly at her desk. Lola doesn't remember her first home, the Island. How will she draw a picture if she can't remember anything about the Island? With help from her family and neighbors, Lola learns that the Island will always be with her. A great picture book for the whole family, with vibrant illustrations that jump off the page.”
— Jen Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
From New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz comes a debut picture book about the magic of memory and the infinite power of the imagination.
A 2019 Pura Belpré Honor Book for Illustration
Every kid in Lola's school was from somewhere else. Hers was a school of faraway places. So when Lola's teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from, all the kids are excited. Except Lola. She can't remember The Island—she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories—joyous, fantastical, heartbreaking, and frightening—Lola's imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back to The Island. As she draws closer to the heart of her family's story, Lola comes to understand the truth of her abuela's words: “Just because you don't remember a place doesn't mean it's not in you.”
Gloriously illustrated and lyrically written, Islandborn is a celebration of creativity, diversity, and our imagination's boundless ability to connect us—to our families, to our past and to ourselves.
About the Author
Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. A graduate of Rutgers University, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Leo Espinosa is an award-winning illustrator and designer from Bogotá, Colombia, whose work has been featured in The New Yorker, Wired, Esquire, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and more. Leo's illustrations have been recognized by American Illustration, Communication Arts, Pictoplasma, 3x3, and the Society of Illustrators. Leo lives with his family in Salt Lake City, Utah.
★ "With his tenacious, curious heroine and a voice that’s chatty, passionate, wise, and loving, Díaz entices readers to think about a fundamental human question: what does it mean to belong?"–Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ “A sensitive and beautiful story of culture, identity, and belonging—a superb picture book outing for Díaz and one to be shared broadly in a variety of settings.” –School Library Journal, starred review
★ “This important title will be enjoyed by young children and may spark many significant discussions.” –Booklist, starred review