Milo Imagines the World (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers 02/2021) is a picture book for anyone who has ever made a snap judgment about someone. In other words, this book is for EVERYONE! Milo and his older sister are riding the New York City subway (to find out where they’re going, you have to read the book!). They take the long subway trip every Sunday, and Milo always feels like “a shook-up soda. Excitement stacked on top of worry on top of confusion on top of love.”
To distract himself, Milo observes the people around him and draws pictures of how he imagines their lives – a young white boy in a suit lives in a castle, a woman in a wedding dress is headed to the cathedral to marry a man. In the end, Milo finds out that you can’t really judge a person by the way they look on the outside – there is always more to the story. With this realization, Milo reimagines all the pictures he made of the people on the train. By dismantling stereotypes, Milo is able to see that the people around him aren’t necessarily that different from himself.
This book is another beautiful collaboration between Matt de la Peña (Newbery Medalist) and Christian Robinson (Caldecott Honor). The text captures how Milo sees the world around him, and Milo’s drawings, interspersed throughout the book, give readers a look into his heart. And as his imagination opens up to possibilities, you can feel Milo’s heart grow lighter.
If you haven’t already, you should check out their other collaborations, Last Stop on Market Place (also available in Spanish) and Carmela Full of Wishes. These wonderful books are available at Little Shop of Stories or your local independent bookstore (check out my list of noteworthy indie bookstores!).