7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #385: Featuring Javier Martínez Pedro

h1 June 8th, 2014 by jules

(Click to enlarge)

This morning’s featured book, José Manuel Mateo’s Migrant, illustrated by Javier Martínez Pedro, is actually one that was awarded the New Horizons Award at the 2012 Bologna Children’s Book Fair, which was the year that I juried. It was originally released in Spanish in Mexico in 2011 as Migrar. It has been published here in the States this year, just released in April by Abrams Books for Young Readers — with text in Spanish on one side of the book and text in English on the other. This makes me happy to see. (The New Horizons Award provides special recognition for illustrators from Arab, Latin American, Asian, and African countries.)

The book was created in the style of a codex, or one continuous illustration, along with Mateo’s words, presented in an accordion fold. It works like this:

“I used to play among the roosters and the pigs,” the book opens. It’s told from the point of view of a young boy in Mexico, who lives in a village with “no pens, nor walls between the houses. On one side of the villages were the mountains; on the other side, the sea.”

The boy’s father works on land owned by someone else, and he and his sister have a happy life, running and play. But one day, money for planting dries up, and the boy’s neighbors leave. “In the end, my dad also left. No one remained in town but the women and us children,” Mateo writes. With his mother not allowed to plant and work on the lands (simply because she is a woman without money) and not able to find other work, she and her children leave. Thus begins the boy’s perilous journey with his mother and sister to cross the border into the United States in order to find work and the boy’s father.

Many reviewers have already praised the book for its empathetic look at the complex (and very relevant, as Booklist notes) issue of migration. The book closes with an Author’s and Artists’s Note, which discusses the dangerous journeys many families make to the U.S.: “They launch themselves on a journey full of danger because they have the hope of finding a job and of living in peace, or because they want to reunite with their family. They leave because of poverty, mistreatment, or violence.” Later, they note that when many children migrate, they cannot legally prove their names upon arrival in the U.S. …

“nor can they request documents to do so; many times they cannot even manage to find out what their real age is. For this reason we have created this book: to demand these children’s right to exist.”

It’s powerful stuff.

Javier Martínez Pedro’s one long illustration is, as you can see here, detailed and intricate, and it’s artwork to pore over. Here is the entire piece of art that makes up this accordion-style book:

(Click to enlarge cover)

MIGRANT. Copyright © 2011 by José Manuel Mateo. Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Javier Martínez Pedro. Spanish and English version published in 2014 by Abrams Books for Young Readers, New York. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

* * * * * * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) Yesterday, Maira Kalman was at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, where they are exhibiting her pieces from The Elements of Style Illustrated until September. It was wonderful to hear her talk about her work.

2) This photography exhibit is fascinating, too.

3) This conversation between Peter Sís and Margaret Ferguson is pretty wonderful, just like Sís’ new book.

4) And this conversation between Phil and Erin Stead and Cece Bell is equally great.

5) I sort of re-discovered how much I love Neko Case’s “Ragtime.” It’s so happy and triumphant (I guess you should know it comes on the CD right after a song about how she struggled with depression for a while there) that it makes me tear up every time. “I’ll reveal myself invincible soon.” I mean, right? RIGHT!

Also, I love good songs about how music moves through people’s lives (like Elbow’s “The Bones of You” and 10,000 Maniacs’ “Verdi Cries”).

6) Opportunities.

7) Looking ahead.

(Hey, my last two kicks are so Little-Willow, aren’t they? She’s usually way more eloquent, though.)

What are YOUR kicks this week?

17 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #385: Featuring Javier Martínez Pedro”

  1. Wow this book looks amazing, though I suspect it would look even better in real life!

    I have been crazily busy and tired so haven’t been around but I have been missing all the kicks! Jules your kicks look like they could occupy us all for a while! And ha ha I read the last two and thought “how very Little Willow”.

    1. The biannual giant charity booksale that I love was on this weekend and I snaffled some new books included some bargain board books PLUS I HELPED PEOPLE
    2. Finally got a tree cut down that needed to be taken out months ago. We loved it a lot (thus the procrastination) but it has made the pavers out the front stick up everywhere and the roots are very close to the house. We ended up getting it done for a bargain due to a contractor randomly knocking at the door as they were in the street.
    3. Long weekend this weekend!
    4. Trying out a new method to help our baby sleep better (after increasingly terrible sleep for the last 2.5 months) and so far so good.
    5. Our local library found a coffee shop who would set up a van on the deck, so now people can buy a coffee while they work on the deck or borrow a blanket and sit in the park next door. I think it’s a great idea!
    6. My daycare was able to swop a day so now I can be in the office on a better day, attend my parents group and also have the same day off as my sister. Brilliant!
    7. Loving my Kindle paperwhite so much. I love that I can read it in the dark or in bright sunlight and that I only need one hand to hold it and turn the pages…so handy with a baby

    Now I should go use some of these on Facebook as I said I would be posting positive things…for some reason it’s easier to share kicks here perhaps because of long practice and because everyone is nice and understanding. On Facebook it feels a bit like you are bragging about your life.

  2. Thank you Jules for introducing us to this title. I am very interested in seeing it. It’s an important story that needs to be told.
    Hearing Maira Kalman speak must truly have been amazing, Jules. I can hardly wait to look over her collaboration with Daniel Handler. And I love the Steads new site.

    Emmaco: I think long weekends are wonderful too! Have a great time.

    My kicks:
    1. All the new book releases
    2. My continuing love affair with picture books
    3. The beauty to be found across our country
    4. Good people
    5. Friends, old, new, and virtual
    6. Spending time with Xena
    7. Walking with Xena

  3. This looks like a beautiful and important book. I heard a news piece about how many children make the dangerous journey across the U.S.’s southern border. This topic could use some light being shone on it.
    Jules – Thanks for the links. Those last two kicks, I thought, “Who does she think she is, Little Willow?”.

    emmaco – Glad to hear you are finding your footing. Good luck with everyone getting a peaceful night’s sleep.


    1. I am writing this from my porch.
    2. I had my first outdoor shower of the season yesterday where I washed away all memories of the long winter.
    3. I submitted a picture to the ICON gallery show that will be at the Land Gallery in Portland, OR.
    4. I saw a blue bird, ever so briefly the other day. I was sad that I didn’t get to visit with him longer. My daughter suggested that I paint him when I got home, which I did. http://instagram.com/p/o5zyBwlP53/
    5. My book club ladies
    6. Going to see TIFOS today with some middle school girls.
    7. Did I mention that I was currently, drinking coffee while gentle rocking in my white wicker chair on my porch?

    Have a great week all.

  4. Wow, that book. I am going to look for it we need more books on this topic.
    Jules, will go back and read the Sis interview. Your last two kicks has me wondering.
    Emmaco, libraries and coffee, great combo. Glass to see you here. Love your positivity.
    Margie, book releases, yay and walks with Xena.
    Moira, I will need together to the Land Gallery for the exhibit. Do you know there is HUGE waiting listing for TFIOS at the library.
    My kicks:
    1. Over 1000 books sold at the school library used book sale.
    2. A weekend with grandgirl.
    3. Going to see the play Grimm with one of my students in it.
    4. Anticipating my trip next weekend to see my brother graduate from Massage and Sports Medicine School.( his second career).
    5. A work party bridal shower, puting together air plant terrariums.
    6. Asked to be on Library Leadership Team.
    7. Not sweating the small stuff.
    Have a great week.

  5. Good morning, Imps!

    Congrats to Jose and Javier on their world-wide recognition.

    Jules: *grin* Glad that you are happy and hopeful!

    emmaco: Enjoy your books and coffee combo! Thank you for helping people. Glad that your schedule is working out.

    Margie: Happy summer to you and Xena!

    Moira: Beautiful painting! I’ve seen a few blue birds lately too. So pretty.

    Jone: Happy graduation (in advance) to your brother and congratulations to your Grimm performer!

    My kicks for the past week:
    1) Words reaching overseas
    2) Nuance
    3) More words, locally
    4) Wrote two new plays
    5) Audition
    6) Early
    7) Fresh fruit

  6. LW, fresh fruit, yum.

  7. This book is incredible and such an important story.

    Jules – you got to hear/see Maira Kalman speak – so jealous! And that photography exhibit – I may need to buy that book – just wow. Loved the Neko Case song, something I needed to hear today. Thanks as always for sharing such great music.

    emmaco – coffee and books is such a perfect combination. Hooray for the daycare swap & life being smoother!

    Margie – good people, good friends and a great dog sounds like a perfect week.

    Moira – loving all your Instagram photos! And coffee on your porch in a rocking chair? That’s a happy morning.

    Jone – congrats on the book sale! Great weather for a weekend with grandgirl too!

    LW- Two new plays! I suppose not surprising given your energy levels. And yum to fresh fruit!

    Life threw me an unexpected curveball last week, so I have lots of good kicks that happened afterwards to be happy about:
    1) My family of friends, near and far. I am so lucky to know and love such good people.
    2) Sunshine and summer in the PNW – so beautiful. It always makes me happy.
    3) Friday HH with a good friend.
    4) Achieving a new professional goal.
    5) My garden – its blooming!
    6) My house – loving my home improvement projects.
    7) Sad that California Chrome lost his Triple Crown bid, but decided to go to a tropical locale anyway to celebrate his spirit.
    7.5) Change, Endings, Beginings.

    I know, I know, now my turn to sound like Little Willow – I think there must be something in the air this week. 😉

    Have a wonderful beautiful joyful week everyone!

  8. Rachel: Sending you good thoughts. May the summer sunshine continue to cheer you.

  9. Thanks for the good thoughts LW! 🙂

  10. Rachel, wasn’t it a spectacular weekend weather wise. I hope it lifted your sprit.

  11. I’m here! I’m here! Yesterday got away from me.

    Emmaco, hello! You’ve been living well. I particularly love the library coffee shop in the van. So glad you’re getting more sleep and that your daycare is so accommodating.

    Margie, of course I love your kick #2.

    Moira, your bluebird is beautiful. Was the movie good?

    Jone, have a good trip next week, and congrats to your brother!

    Little Willow, “nuance.” I love this.

    Rachel, when I saw Neko perform that song live, it was one of the most beautiful, happy things ever, though I can’t recall what she did instead of horns (’cause she had no horns with her). … I’m sorry to hear about unexpected curveballs (band name! I call it!), but I’m glad you found some silver linings. I hope this week is curveball-free and all good.

  12. What an amazing work of art — looking forward to seeing it close-up some day. Nice to see kicks from many of the old regulars. I gotta get back to a weekly inventory of gratitude.

  13. Hi Jeremy!

    Jone – the weather did indeed lift my spirits, how can anyone be in a bad mood or blue when its summertime and sunny in Portland?

    Jules – silver linings are the best – silver linings can keep me afloat for a long time. That performance by Neko sounds uplifting – so glad you got to be a part of it by enjoying it.

    Thanks for all the good thoughts & nice words guys, totally made my day.

  14. What a book – what illustrations! I’m so excited, and can’t wait to hold that book in my hands to study it closely. We need this here in LA, and more like it.

    Loved all the Kicks, Jules’ included! I thought of Little Willow right away and laughed out loud!

    I’ve been incredibly busy and barely swung by lately, but glad to know everyone is well and art is thriving!

    Don’t have kicks as all is too hectic and busy and I’m too sad about the end of first grade for my Little and leaving his teachers! School ends Wednesday so maybe I’ll be through the sadness by next week.

    Oh, no wait! GREAT books honored by The Horn Book for the 2014 awards! I found myself starting to breathe again. So grateful for that publication and all their love of books and art and challenges and reading!

    Waiting, waiting for Jules’ book to be published!
    See You All!

  15. It warms my heart to be thought of in such a wonderful (encouraging, hopeful) light. Thanks, Imps!

  16. JEREMY!

    Hi, Allison! Second grade ALREADY? Wow. … I always love seeing the BGHB awards, too. Exciting, and such good choices this year.

    I hope everyone has a good week.

  17. […] “Seven Impossible Things” blog has a peek at the full image, so please feel free to lament along with […]

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