The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan (2010)

The Dreamer is a fictionalized biography of Nobel Prize winning poet, Pablo Neruda. In Ryan’s account, we get a glimpse into Neruda’s childhood. Growing up in Chile, Neftali Reyes (Neruda) was considered weak and worthless by his father. Neftali was a dreamer who found meaning in books and everyday objects. He enjoyed collecting things and believed that each object had a story. It was painful to see how hard Neftali’s father was on him, how much he hated that his son wanted to be a writer and not a doctor or lawyer or businessman. Fortunately, Neftali found a way to pursue his dream and make his unique voice heard. A co-worker pointed out that the type in the novel is green and in the author’s note it mentioned that Neruda wrote in green ink because he believed it was the color of esperanza-hope. Ryan’s beautifully written story is full of the hope that we can overcome obstacles and other people’s expectations to realize our own paths in life.

Read Nicki’s review here.


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