When This World Was New

By Publisher’s Weekly

In his first picture book, Figueredo offers a boy’s first-person account of his Spanish-speaking family’s arrival in the United States from “an island on an ocean that was warm and far away.” After taking two airplanes to reach a large northern city, Danilito and his parents are greeted by Uncle Berto, who drives them to his home. Though the child feels anxious about going to school where no one speaks his language, a blizzard outside his window fills him with wonder (he describes the sight as “a magic I had never seen before”). The story takes a winding path, but Figueredo succeeds in conveying his young narrator’s credible emotions and close rapport with his parents and uncle. Sanchez’s (Abuela’s Weave) acrylic paintings achieve such softness that they appear to be rendered in pastels. Even when set in the intimidating city, the illustrations in gentle tones of reds and blues create the feeling that the boy’s transition to a new life and culture will be a smooth one.