Saturday, February 1, 2020

Across the Bay (Carlos Aponte)

Title:  Across the Bay

Author:  Carlos Aponte 

Target Ages:  4-10

Genre:  Realistic Fiction Picture Book

Award: Pura Belpre’ Illustrator Honor

Publisher Summary:  Carlitos lives in a happy home with his mother, his abuela, and Coco the cat.  Life in his hometown is cozy as can be, but the call of the capital city pulls Carlitos across the bay in search of his father.

Memorable Moment:
When Carlitos loses his only picture of his father, a park ranger helps him cope with his loss. 

Carlitos has a loving home with his mother, abuela, and cat.  Nevertheless, he is spurred to search for what is missing—his father.  

After an unsuccessful quest to locate his father, Carlitos finds contentment in his circumstances.  He learns, “No matter the storm, the sun always returns.”  As he journeys back home, he has a renewed appreciation for the loving people in his life and they home they have created for him.  

Through Carlitos’ quest, author Carlos Aponte aptly conveys the heartache and loss a child feels when a parent is no longer in the home—especially when that parent is completely absent.  The story subtly but powerfully shows the longing and loss through the juxtaposition of Carlitos’ circumstances with those of other young boys who are sharing every day experiences with their father—in the neighborhood, the barbershop, and the city.  

The illustrations show the beauty and diversity of Puerto Rico as Carlitos traverses the ancient city of Old San Juan and his more modern hometown of Catano.  From the colorful foliage to the vast array of people and activities, young readers get a glimpse of island life. 

Across the Bay reminds us of the quiet desperation many children around the world feel for a missing parent. This poignant narrative is both heartbreaking and uplifting, a blast to the heart and a spark of delight. 

Interview with Carlos Aponte 

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