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.