This heartfelt story of resilience follows two siblings as they work to recover and rebuild after Hurricane Maria destroys their home in Puerto Rico.
Before an intense hurricane hits their home in Puerto Rico, Antonio told his sister vibrant stories each night. During the storm, they huddled with their parents in a closet and hear the storm blow the roof right off their home. After the storm, their family uses a temporary blue tarp for a roof, and Antonio stops speaking. Gradually the siblings imagine their blue roof playfully—as the ocean above them or a parachute helping them fall from the sky. As the narrator helps her little brother feel safe once more--and after the family and community build a new roof--the little boy begins to speak again.
About the Author
Sara E. Echenique grew up preparing for and surviving hurricanes in Puerto Rico. This is her first picture book.
Ashley Vargas is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology's Illustration BFA program. This is her first picture book. https://artley.myportfolio.com
A Puerto Rican girl and her storytelling brother, Antonio, survive a powerful hurricane that rips the roof off of their home. The trauma of the storm silences Antonio, and he is no longer able to share his gift of stories. A blue tarp covers the house until they can replace it with a new roof—a daily reminder of the storm and the damage it caused. Still, the siblings find joy in the situation, imagining that the blue hue cast by sunlight through the tarp is the water of the ocean or envisioning the shadows as macaws and herons in the jungle. The protagonist promises to help Antonio find his voice. Eventually, the roof is replaced, and Antonio regains his speech, ready to share his stories once again. In their newly mended home, the family finds a creative way to honor the blue tarp that sheltered them. The story and a note from the author bring an important focus to the continued recovery of Puerto Rico after devastating hurricanes such as 2017’s Irma and Maria and the challenges that Puerto Ricans continue to face as they rebuild. Vargas’ art has a scribbly, childlike feeling that makes the tale relatable despite its potentially scary subject. The siblings and their parents have brown skin and curly brown hair. Healing, both physical and emotional, is eased through the power of story. (hurricane and climate change information, ways children can help)
Two Puerto Rican siblings find their footing after a hurricane removes their home’s roof in Echenique’s reassuring picture book debut. An unnamed narrator describes their nightly ritual before the storm: falling asleep while brother Antonio “told me magical stories.” As the hurricane approaches, the two test flashlights and lanterns, “just in case,” and the family prepares “for anything that could blow our way.” When it hits, though, and rain comes in beneath the doors, they retreat to a closet, later discovering that “the storm had blown our white-gray roof right off.” While the family stays with relatives for a few days, then covers the roof with a temporary blue tarp, Antonio stops speaking. The narrator promises to help find his voice as the two launch into flights of fancy, and a new roof provides an opportunity to acknowledge the event. Vargas’s digital illustrations amplify childhood emotions with lightning bolt, swirl, and star motifs. Back matter ties hurricanes and climate change to simple adoptable actions. Ages 5–8.