Luis does not want his brother Nico to go see the world with the Army. He begins to paint the world on the alleyway wall--oranges, lemons, his house, the river--so that Nico can see the world right at home! But he goes anyway.
Luis' sadness swoops onto the alleyway wall and the mural grows. When Nico texts pictures of mountains and marketplaces far away, Luis' mural takes in the bigger world that Nico is seeing. Neighbors add their views of the world to the mural. The world goes on.
Time goes on, too. Snow comes, then melts. When will Nico come home? "Muy pronto," says Mami. School starts. "Good luck," texts Nico. Mami says some people move on and don't come home. Luis' confidence that Nico will come home lives on the alleyway wall. And Nico does come home.
Paintings show perspective, paintings give perspective. A theme for this week's reviews might be how gaining perspective helps with overcoming challenges. Luis Paints the World, with its vibrant illustrations of illustrations, shows how even children can gain perspective on the absence of a loved one. By looking outward as well as inward, Luis creates something beautiful that represents time and the world in a way that he can see and hold onto.
The Wishing Tree by Mary Redman tells about another way to keep hope and perspective by creating something concrete during a deployment. A board book that might help very young children gain perspective when a family member deploys is Over There, in either the Mommy Version or the Daddy Version, by Dorinda Silver Williams. For school-age children, the chapter book 100 Days and 99 Nights by Alan Madison is worth checking out. Your Virginia Beach Public Library staff members will be happy to help you find nonfiction materials for adults and children on military families as well.
Review by Lynn K