Walk With Me by Jairo Buitrago, translated by Elisa Amado, illustrated by Rafael Yockteng

Published by Groundwood Books

Summary:  A girl asks a lion to accompany her on the way home from school.  As bystanders scream and faint, she bravely walks down the street, to the sitter’s house to pick up her younger brother, to the “store that won’t give us credit anymore”, and home to cook dinner and wait for their mother to come back from working at the factory.  As night falls, she gives the lion permission to return to the hills, “but then come back when I call”.  She, her mother, and brother all fall asleep in a single bed, a cracked wall above their heads.  The final page shows a framed photo of the whole family, including a father whose bushy blond hair resembles a lion’s mane.  35 pages; ages 4-10.

Pros:  Readers will need to study the pictures to figure out what is happening in this deceptively simple story.  Is the lion real or imaginary?  There are Spanish words in the pictures…where does this story take place?  Kids will empathize with the narrator and a life that forces her to grow up quickly.

Cons:  It felt like the text might have been more poetic in the original Spanish.  Something may have gotten lost in the translation.

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