Where Are You From?

Harper/HarperCollins/. Jun. 2019. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062839930.
PreS-Gr 2–In a world full of microaggressions, Argentine-American author Méndez and South Korean-American illustrator Kim team up to offer an affirming answer for a young brown-skinned girl constantly being asked “Where are you from?” After her reply, “I’m from here, from today, same as everyone else,” is contested with a “No, where are you really from?,” she takes her internalized confusion to her abuelo, because “he knows everything, and like me, he looks like he doesn’t belong.” He tells her that she comes from the pampas, the gaucho, mountains, blue oceans, hurricanes, and dark storms. He doesn’t shy away from hard truths and tells her that she comes from “this land where our ancestors built a home for all, even when they were in chains because of the color of their skin.” Each answer takes them into sweeping double-page landscapes of watercolor and ink that add enough context to understand new vocabulary and texture to fill each space. But when she insists where am I really from, he points to his heart and says, “from my love and the love of all of those before us.” A great read-aloud with simple yet evocative language, this picture book will validate many young children’s experience, and for others will lend itself well to starting conversations around race and racial aggressions.
VERDICT A much-needed title that is a first purchase for libraries and classrooms

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