El cuarto turquesa / The Turquoise Room

By Kirkus Reviews

“The dreams of girls turn into the lives of women.”

A little girl named Esther, who lives in the Peru of a century ago, paints a map of South America that features her favorite color, turquoise, which she uses for “the color of rivers and lakes and the blue morpho butterflies that lived in the rain forest.” When she grows up and has a daughter of her own, Isabel, Esther paints the girl’s room turquoise, inspiring her to dream of flying across the world. Isabel finds a home in the United States and becomes an artist. The urge to dream big is passed on again, this time to Monica, Isabel’s daughter and the book’s author, who grows up to write stories for children and to raise two daughters of her own. This autobiographical, multigenerational tale is proof that a loving parent can encourage a child not only to embrace art, but also to view the world as a place of limitless opportunities. The book is bilingual, with Spanish first, English second, though some Spanish words and phrases such as mantas (blankets) and linda (beautiful) are retained in the English text. With illustrations that place realistic images of characters’ faces against deeply saturated greens and purples and the titular turquoise, the book feels like a whirlwind journey through 100 years of family history. In fact, it could stand to be a little longer; as beautiful as it is, it’s over as quickly as an elusive dream. 

A rich portrayal of the passage of a family’s artistic talents across generations.