Grades 5 - 9
Grade level Equivalent: 3.7
Lexile Measure®: 650L
Guided Reading: V
- Autobiography and Biography
- Historical Fiction
- Poetry Writing
- Creativity and Imagination
- Determination and Perseverance
- Historic Figures
About This Book
Much to his father's disappointment, Neftalí is not like other children. Frail and painfully shy, he spends most of his time alone: collecting treasures, reading, writing, and daydreaming — pastimes his authoritarian father thinks are for fools. Neftalí finds beauty and wonder everywhere: in the oily colors of mud puddles; a lost glove, sailing on the wind; the music of birds and language. The natural world and his native Chile and the painful injustices Neftalí witnesses there move him equally. While his father plans to build him into a robust doctor, Neftalí has other longings.
Against all odds, Neftalí prevails against his father's cruelty and his own crippling shyness to become one of the most widely read poets in the world, Pablo Neruda. How Neftalí reconciles his own dreams with his father's is at the heart of this inspiring, radiant, and profoundly moving story of self-discovery.
Combining elements of magical realism with biography, poetry, and literary fiction, Pam Muñoz Ryan weaves sound poems and thought-provoking questions into her exquisitely crafted prose to create a narrative tapestry of color, rhythm, and emotion, while Peter Sis’s delicate, mesmerizing drawings transport readers to the lushness of the rainforest, the vastness of the sea, and the whimsy of Neftali’s imagination.
This moving story about the birth of an artist is also a celebration of childhood, imagination, and the strength of the creative spirit and is sure to inspire young writers and artists.
Praise for The Dreamer
* "This book has all the feel of a classic, elegant and measured, but deeply rewarding and eminently readable."— Booklist, starred review
* "...exquisite details reflect the dreamer’s maturing imagination, clothing this masterful tribute in art that fits it as ineluctably as Neruda’s new name suited his purpose." — The Horn Book, starred review
* "Ryan’s fictional evocation of the boy who would become Pablo Neruda is rich, resonant and enchanting."— Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "The book is an immaculately crafted and inspiring piece of magical realism." — Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "The perfect marriage of text and art offers an excellent introduction to one of the world’s most famous poets." — School Library Journal, starred review
Winner of the 2011 Belpre Author Award