Neftali Reyes is a dreamer. He's small and skinny, absentminded, a collector of twigs and rocks and discarded shoes. The window to his room might suddenly fill up with waves, the ceiling might drop away so that he can fly up, into the stars. And he's a writer. A writer of individual words, at first, which he might scrawl in the sand or on a fence post, and then of poems, which he might publish in a newspaper to encourage others to rise up against a government's injustice. His father will not support his dreams, will in fact do anything he can to prevent Neftali from living his own life, and so Neftali takes on a pseudonym when he goes to college. Pablo Neruda. A poet.
This is a work of fiction based on the essays and poems of Pablo Neruda, and on biographies about his childhood. And it's a beautiful work of fiction, at that. Hazy and dreamy, with a language that flows and floats gorgeously across the page. Not a lot happens, and I'm not sure that it has much--any--kid appeal, but Peter Sis's illustrations and Pam Munoz Ryan's words made it an absolute delight to experience this book.