Monday, February 28, 2011

The Dreamer, by Pam Munoz Ryan

Munoz Ryan's autobiographical novel "The Dreamer" is remarkable in a magical way - an essay of contemplation and presence, of both the present and the reflective journey of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Christened Neftali, the child Neruda is a collector of objects and simultaeously a collector of identities - physically weak but mindfully strong, he is an abused son, steadfast brother, awe-inspired nephew, hopeful romantic, and idealistic writer. Stuttering, his childhood traumas first intimidate, then strengthen him, and Ryan's poetic prose gracefully portrays the child blossomming into a man who follows his convictions and passions, taking him away from his family, into a new identity and newfound happiness.

Recommended for sixth grade through early high school; students of poetry would find it especially interesting, too.

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