My parents came from not one island, but an archipelago.  That’s one reason why I was drawn to ISLANDBORN.

“Every kid in Lola’s school was from somewhere else.  Hers was the school of faraway places.”  Right out of the gate, the narrative grabs you and tells you that this is a special story.  Everyone in Lola’s class is tasked with drawing the country they’re from; their first homes.  The only problem is that Lola doesn’t remember much of it since she left when she was just a baby.  She decides to interview her neighbors who are always talking about the Island.  As she learns about the Island’s lively music, agua de coco, mangos so sweet they make you cry, poetic beaches and its ubiquitous, splendid color, she sketches.  She learns of the Island’s beauties but also its struggles.  Lola learns from her grandmother, “Just because you don’t remember a place doesn’t mean it’s not in you.”

Lola’s and the Island’s story are told with charm, humor and poignancy.  Leo Espinosa’s bright and buoyant illustrations sing with joy.  They are a true celebration of color and life.  Don’t miss this beautiful and powerful story when it publishes on March 13.

ISLANDBORN was written by Junot Díaz, illustrated by Leo Espinosa and published by Dial Books.