The Dreamer (Paperback)

The Dreamer By Pam Muñoz Ryan, Peter Sís (Illustrator) Cover Image

The Dreamer (Paperback)

By Pam Muñoz Ryan, Peter Sís (Illustrator)


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Summer 2010 Kids' Next List

“The inner life of a young boy growing up in Chile, confined to bed with illness and bullied by his father, is beautifully illuminated by the words of Ryan and the illustrations of Sis. We are not surprised to learn that Neftali, observant of every detail in the natural world, treasuring the words he hears and reads, and sympathetic to the plight of the native people, grows up to become the beloved poet Pablo Neruda.”
— Ellen Sandmeyer, Sandmeyer's Bookstore, Chicago, IL

Pura Belpré Award Winner

A tender, transcendent, and meticulously crafted novel from Newbery Honoree, Pam Muñoz Ryan, and three-time Caldecott Honoree, Peter Sís!

From the time he is a young boy, Neftalí hears the call of a mysterious voice. Even when the neighborhood children taunt him, and when his harsh, authoritarian father ridicules him, and when he doubts himself, Neftalí knows he cannot ignore the call. He listens and follows as it leads him under the canopy of the lush rain forest, into the fearsome sea, and through the persistent Chilean rain on an inspiring voyage of self-discovery that will transform his life and, ultimately, the world.

Combining elements of magical realism with biography, poetry, literary fiction, and transporting illustrations, Pam Muñoz Ryan and Peter Sís take readers on a rare journey of the heart and imagination as they explore the inspiring early life of the poet who became Pablo Neruda.

Pam Muñoz Ryan is the recipient the NEA's Human and Civil Rights Award, the PEN America Award, and the 2024 Children’s Literature Legacy Award for her body of work. She was the 2018 U.S. nominee for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award. She received a Newbery Honor Medal and the Kirkus Prize for her New York Times bestselling novel, Echo. Her other celebrated novels, Esperanza Rising, The Dreamer, Riding Freedom, Becoming Naomi Léon, Paint the Wind, and Mañanaland, have received countless accolades, among them the Pura Belpré Award, the Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and the Américas Award. Her acclaimed picture books include Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride and the Sibert Honor book When Marian Sang, both illustrated by Brian Selznick, Mice and Beans illustrated by Joe Cepeda, and Tony Baloney illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, as well as a beginning reader series featuring Tony Baloney. Ryan lives near San Diego, California, with her family.
Peter Sís is a Hans Christian Andersen Award winner, three-time Caldecott Honoree, Sibert Award winner, and MacArthur Fellow. His celebrated picture books include Ice Cream Summer, Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei, Tibet Through the Red Box, and The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain.He also creates fine art that can be seen in galleries, museums, and public spaces all over the world. Learn more at
Product Details ISBN: 9780439269988
ISBN-10: 0439269989
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Publication Date: March 1st, 2012
Pages: 384
Language: English

Awards and Praise for The Dreamer:

Pura Belpré Award winner

Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor

Booklist Editors' Choice

NYPL 100 Best Children's Book

ALA Notable Children's Book

IRA Notable Children's Books for a Global Society

Kirkus Best Children's Book

Pen Center USA Literary Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature

*"An immaculately crafter and inspiring piece of text and art." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

*". . . rich, resonant and enchanting." --Kirkus, starred review

*"The perfect marriages of text and art." --School Library Journal, starred review

*" This book has all the feel of a classic, elegant and measured, but deeply rewarding and eminently readable." --Booklist, starred review

*"[A] masterful tribute."-Horn Book, starred review

"Ryan's hypnotic text, inspired by the childhood of Pablo Neruda, is brought to life by the extraordinary art of Peter Sis."-New York Times Book Review

"A phantasmagorical rumination on the childhood of the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda is rooted in a belief that words possess the power to mend the spirit and change the world."--Smithsonian Notable List