The Year We Learned to Fly (Hardcover)
On a dreary, stuck-inside kind of day, a brother and sister heed their grandmother’s advice: “Use those beautiful and brilliant minds of yours. Lift your arms, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and believe in a thing. Somebody somewhere at some point was just as bored you are now.” And before they know it, their imaginations lift them up and out of their boredom. Then, on a day full of quarrels, it’s time for a trip outside their minds again, and they are able to leave their anger behind. This precious skill, their grandmother tells them, harkens back to the days long before they were born, when their ancestors showed the world the strength and resilience of their beautiful and brilliant minds. Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael Lopez’s dazzling art celebrate the extraordinary ability to lift ourselves up and imagine a better world.
Rafael López (rafaellopez-books.com) illustrated New York Times bestseller Just Ask! (by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor). He won Pura Belpré medals for Drum Dream Girl and Book Fiesta, and has also received three Pura Belpré honors, two Américas Book Awards, and the 2017 Tomás Rivera Children's Book Award and Society of Illustrators Original Art Silver Medal. His work has been featured in Communication Arts, American Illustration Annual, Graphic Design USA and Huffington Post. He's a founder of San Diego's Urban Art Trail movement, created seven US Postal Stamps, and created official posters for the '08 and '12 Obama-Biden campaigns.
★ “Two Black siblings use their imaginations to escape their immediate surroundings throughout the seasons in this picture book by previous collaborators Woodson and López (The Day You Begin)… Learning to soar “from the people who came before,” the children are told both that their feelings have been experienced by others, and that “nobody can ever cuff/ your brilliant and beautiful mind,” a lesson they pass on in turn.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ ”A sister and brother live with their younger sister and grandmother. In the spring, the weather is stormy, and the children grow bored. Summer finds them bickering over chores. In the autumn, the rooms of the apartment feel “big and lonely.” Then, in winter, they move, leaving their familiar street and friends behind. From this basic premise comes a narrative rich with literary and visual symbolism, simultaneously simple and profound…With this book, Woodson and Lopez create a path that children may follow as they gain confidence and imagine a way forward no matter what challenges arise." —Booklist, starred review
★ "An intergenerational family story of freedom. . . . López illustrates the inside of the family’s apartment with drab, muted colors that emphasize the children’s confinement. In contrast, the outdoor scenes, illustrated primarily in pastels, exude luminosity and convey the youngsters’ exuberance. . . . The ebullient mixed-media artwork explodes with color and extends the richness of the text. An uplifting story that will inspire kids, especially brown girls and boys, to dream." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review