Somos como las nubes/We Are Like the Clouds

tr. from Spanish by Elisa Amado. illus. by Alfonso Ruano. 36p. Groundwood. Oct. 2016. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781554988495. BL
RedReviewStarGr 3–6—Argueta likens the spirit of refugee and immigrant children from Central America and Mexico to the movement of clouds in this collection of bilingual poetry. Some of these poems successfully evoke the fear and anxiety generated by this exodus from violence and privation. The portrayal of the tattooed Salvadoran gangs in "El barrio la campanera" is particularly visceral. But most of the poems skirt the edge of urgency, creating an emotional disconnect. Apprehension by the U.S. border patrol is a dreaded terror refugees pray to avoid. But the poem "Nos presentamos a la patrulla" ("We Introduce Ourselves to the Border Patrol") couches the nightmare in terms of an innocuous meet-and-greet. In an introductory poem, "Mi barrio," the author describes a rooster eating a Popsicle ("paleta"), but Ruano features the rooster with a lollipop—the alternate definition of the word. This misinterpretation disrupts the cyclical nature of the Popsicle motif carried forth into the concluding poem. Furthermore, the brutal march across the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts claims countless lives every year, but the image depicted implies that the crossing is nothing more onerous than a day hike.
VERDICT Despite flaws, this is a much-needed jumping-off point for elementary classroom discussions of refugees and immigration.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing