As much as I enjoy good poetic prose, there was something missing for me in Where Are You From? I did not see the buildup to this question as the reviews and title suggested. Yet, it is over all a good story about a granddaughter and her grandfather. Their relationship played a larger part for me then the fact that because the girl is “different” people assume that she is “not from here” and therefore, of course they ask, “Where are you from, really?” That to me was more of a side story then the main theme.
The poetic elements of Yamile Saied Mendez’s story come from how the grandfather explains the journey the girl’s ancestors took to make it to her. He mentions the struggles and love they faced, overcame and had to survive. It is aimed at the four and up crowd, but lack of traditional action might make this less for the active picture book crowd. The fact that she is being told where she comes from (people who cared, struggled and loved) is the point. But perhaps if there had been a tiny bit more lead up then I would have enjoyed that part even more than I did.
The illustrations created by Jaime Kim are fabulous. They complement the sweet and fun text with their own sweetness of colors, people and places. They are happy, cozy images. Even when speaking of hardships, the colors explode and yet, are also not overwhelming. They are the perfect combination.
This is more of a 4.5 or even 4.8 as the “bumps” I have are relatively small in compared to the overall goodness of the book. This book is cozy, good for a library or classroom story-time, but could work one-on-one with some children. Also in Spanish.