Happy Day: From North to South/ Del Norte al Sur

From Illustrations to Final Book

Writing a picture book is fascinating. The author is just one parent. When you write the manuscript, you make images in your head of your protagonist, his/her family and his/her environment. After signing the contract, you need to wait to know who the other parent of your book will be, the illustrator. Soon, you discovered his/her name and then you may have a clear idea of how your book will look like.   

These are the final illustrations of From North to South, illustrated by Joe Cepeda. Images provided by Children's Book Press.

Then the book is born. It is time to the delivery. But instead of going to the hospital and waiting for the doctor, you stay at your front door and wait for the postman or postwoman.

You hear the knock knock or ding dong or a "Good afternoon." And surprise!

You look at the box and wonder, "Can this be the BOX. The one I am waiting for?" So you look at the label.

FROM NORTH TO SOUTH. Yes, this is the box. But you need to open it, just to be real sure.

Then you know. It is not a dream. It is true. Finally the picture of the proud parent.

"From North to South shines a light on the painful experience of family separation from both sides of the border—the questions, the anxiety of waiting, and the hope of a child and his parents. ¡Si se puede!" —Dolores Huerta, activist, organizer and co-founder of The United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO

Author: Colato Laínez, René
Illustrator: Cepeda, Joe
Review Date: August 1, 2010
Publisher: Children's Book Press
Pages: 32
Price (Hardback): $17.95
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
ISBN (Hardback): 978-0-89239-231-5
Category: Picture Books

After his mother is deported by U.S. immigration officials, José and his father go to visit her at Centro Madres Assunta in Tijuana, where she will stay with other women and children until she gets her papers and can return. Frankly a plea for sympathy for families torn apart by immigration rules, this tender story is gently told in Spanish and English texts, together or on opposing pages. Young José recalls his day: the border traffic jam, the joy of seeing his mother, gardening and a seed game with other children in the shelter missing their parents and a final bedtime story told in the car’s backseat. The author, a Salvadoran immigrant, teaches in a bilingual school where his students often experience family separations. Cepeda’s oil paintings, full-bleed single- and double-page spreads, use bright colors and a variety of perspectives to reinforce the joyfulness of the day. A road map of the area between San Diego and Tijuana serves as endpapers. The child’s perspective makes this a particularly moving glimpse of an increasingly common experience. (Picture book. 5-9)

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