Unable to stay and wanting to keep their family together, Luca’s parents leave the United States to return to Mexico. Only Mexico was never really home for Luca or his brother. They do this knowing that Luca and his brother can one day return to the place where their hearts still live. They do this because they don’t really have a choice, not one that will leave their family unit intact.
Until or if then, Luca’s dreams will carry him home to the place where his friends remain and his inability to speak Spanish isn’t cause for worry but perhaps, a matter of fact. At a young age Luca, possibly well before his time, learns a lesson on how our dreams can be a vehicle to get us to where we need and/or desire to be.
Infused with culture through the use of imagery, language and vivid illustrations, this story ends on a lighthearted note. Luca’s family is laughing, singing and dancing as he plays his beloved trumpet; the trumpet a source of comfort and a way for him to connect with the place he longs to be. Singing the song from his dream again bridges the gap between where he is now and where his heart still remains. But even in their laughter we know their heartache is still there. This is true not only for the fictitious characters in this book but likely for the families that inspired it.
The author’s note provides insight into a topic that elicits a great deal of emotion and invites readers to look at things through Luca’s lenses.
This bilingual book, both complex yet easy to follow, is a bridge in its own right and can be used to bring people together rather than divide us further. It can help adults have more thoughtful conversations with children including those who have been directly impacted by deportation in some manner. Even with its hint of whimsy such as the bridge from Luca’s dream and his trumpet adorned in wings, Luca’s Bridge is honest, real and relatable.
Thank you, Penny Candy Books, for giving us this book. Luca’s Bridge is a reminder that rather than fear, love is what should drive us. Always love.
Luca’s Bridge / El puente de Luca Written by Mariana Llanos + Illustrated by Anna López