I DREAM OF POPO
Written by Livia Blackburne • Illustrated by Julia Kuo
Picture Book (ages 3-6) • 40 pages
Published by Roaring Brook Press • 2021
I Dream of Popo explores the special bond between a grandmother and grandchild. In simple, elegant language, Blackburne follows a little girl and her Popo as they share small adventures and everyday experiences.
Popo takes walks with her granddaughter, prepares special food for her and together they celebrate the new year in traditional Taiwanese style.
The day comes when the girl and her family must move to the United States. Her Popo is there to wave goodbye as she boards a huge plane to cross the ocean.
The little girl experiences many changes as she assimilates to life in America, makes new friends, and learns a new language. Although this is the story of a Taiwanese girl who moves to a new country where she faces the challenges of straddling two worlds and two cultures, it could be the story of anyone who moves away from family and friends to begin a new life in a new place.
Blackburn’s delicate and nuanced prose pairs perfectly with Kuo’s vibrant and richly detailed illustrations.
I was touched and sometimes moved to tears by this universal story of love, change, loss and growth. Although a new life may be written over the old, it never erases our original story—through love and memory we always remain connected to those we love.
The back matter, which includes both author’s and illustrator’s notes and a Mandarin-English glossary, adds depth and context to the story.
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Reviewed by: Joan Charles