In lyrical and imagistic prose, prominent Mexican American poet Juan Felipe Herrera has written a bilingual memoir of his childhood as the beloved son of migrant farmworkers traveling from harvest to harvest in a truck towing their little square loaf house along the roads winding through the mountains and valleys of California. Embraced by the love of his family, Herrera was set on his own road to becoming a writer. “As the cities came into view, I knew one day I would follow my own road. I would let my voice fly the way my mother recited poems, the way my father called the doves.” Composed in the style of robust murals, Simmons’ lushly colored, creamy illustrations pulsate with a multitude of images as they chart the landscapes of Herrera’s childhood heartland. Certainly a welcome alternative to the usually bleak portrayal of the migrant farmworker experience, this is an inspirational self-portrait of a loving Latino family. A poetic picture-book memoir that will add beauty to any literature, Latino culture, or biography collection.
Juan Felipe Herrera traveled as a child with his parents through many small farming towns and cities in California, until finally settling in San Diego. Juan Felipe’s books are often inspired by his past as the only son of a pair of migrant farm workers along with his belief that language, culture and good-hearted laughter are key ingredients of his work. He has taught poetry from kindergarten to the university level and is the author of numerous poetry and children’s books, including Calling The Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award, and CrashBoomLove, which was prized with the Americas Award. He also wrote Upside Down Boy, which was adapted into a musical in New York City, and Laughing Out Loud, I Fly, winner of a Pura Belpré honor award. He holds the Tomás Rivera endowed chair in creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, where he is a professor in the Department of Creative Writing.