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Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  183 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Why are young people leaving their country to walk to the United States to seek a new, safe home? Over 100,000 such children have left Central America. This book of poetry helps us to understand why and what it is like to be them.

This powerful book by award-winning Salvadoran poet Jorge Argueta describes the terrible process that leads young people to undertake the extreme
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published October 1st 2016 by Groundwood Books
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4.23  · 
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 ·  183 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This stunning book of poetry looks at the flood of children from Central America who are making their way to the United States. 100,000 of them have walked to our country, escaping to safety and what they hope is fresh opportunities. The book opens with a few poems that show the beauty of Central America and then swiftly moves to the problems and the gangs that are in control. Then begins the long march north, the trust placed in coyotes that lead them, the dangers they face, the rough condition ...more
Lauren Perlstein
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Categories/Genres for this class fulfilled by this book: Poetry

Copyright Date: 2016

Estimate of age level of interest: Grades 3-9

Estimate of reading level: Grade 4

Brief description: A series of poems that describe the journey of migrants fleeing El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.

Identify at least 2 characteristics of this genre and subgenre and discuss how they appear in your book:
Poetry creates sensory images of sight, touch, smell, or taste: The poetry in this book compares people to
Cherilyn Munoz
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
No matter what you believe on this topic, this collection of bi-lingual poetry shows and tells beautifully what the experience is like for children, and what forces them to leave their homes. Suggest pairing with The Journey by Francesca Sanna, My Two BlanketsMy Two Blankets by Irena Kobald, and I'm New Here by Anne Sibley O'Brien.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, heart-wrenching, and full of hope - the measured, not the ignorant, kind.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-harder-2017
Read Harder 2017: Translated poetry, topic other than love

I came across this book as a part of a series of recommendations on books about the refugee and immigrant experience. I loved the way the poems were printed in both Spanish and English. It let me read the poems in their original Spanish and then confirm the meaning in English.

The meaning of the title is best explained by the dedication: "To our children, because you are like the clouds, like dreams, you come and go."

The imagery of longin
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Somos como las nubes is a bilingual book written in Spanish and English. Its great translation allows a non Spanish speaker to follow along the meaningful poetry revealing stories that are very similar to those of thousands of children who have migrated from Central America. These poems uncover the tragic truth of what many have suffered to find refugee in the United States. The realistic illustrations and stunning details aid in bringing each verse to life. This book can be utilized for grades ...more
Sarah Rusk
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: international
Argueta describes the migrations of thousands of children from Central America to the United States through various poems. These poems are in both Spanish and English, with vocabulary words defined as needed. His descriptions are beautiful and real, making the reader feel as if they are with the children. Ruano's illustrations are detailed and support the poems, providing visuals for the poems. There are times that the poems use figurative language and the illustrations support that. This would ...more
Christianna Woodling
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Title: Somos como las nubes/We Are Like the Clouds
Author: Jorge Argueta
Illustrator: Alfonso Ruano
Genre: Poetry
Theme(s): family, immigration, tragedy, family separation, new beginnings,

Opening line/sentence: "Elefantes, caballos, vacas, cuches, flores, ballenas, pericos. Somos como las nubes./ Elephants, horses, cows, pigs, flowers, whales, parakeets. We are like the clouds. "

Brief Book Summary : Jorge Argueta describes the risks and hardships that young Central American children undergo on
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
“He is the boss. He is the one who tells the gang, Hit this one, hit that one. I don’t want to be this one or that one.” This quote stood out to me while reading, Somos como las nubes/We Are Like the Clouds. I found it very telling as to how a child is feeling and how scary new places can be.

Somos como las nubes/We Are Like the Clouds is an English/Spanish poetry book, and was honored for the 2017 ALA Notable Books for Children award. This book has the poems in English and Spanish on each page.
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Some poetry startles with its beauty, some with the sophistication of its technique, some with its unique perspective, or complex shades of emotion. This book of poetry is direct, and different. Jorge Argueta was in the first wave of refugees from Central America, fleeing the civil wars of the eighties, seeking refuge in a country that did so much to inflame those conflicts. These poems speak for the current wave of Central American children, making their slow, torturous way from the criminal ro ...more
Sara Lenahan
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book of poetry depicts the hard journey that young people take as they walk thousands of miles to the United States in search of a better life. These stories are for the people who risk everything and uproot from their homes, told in beautiful rhythms in Spanish and English.
A blend of Spanish and English text on the pages shows the beauty of both languages. This topic is full of such emotion that it could only be told in poems. The author is able to convey so much in such a short amount of
Dec 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, poetry, art
This book seemed to have so much promise, but I was disappointed. It is certainly not a good intro for young kids who don’t yet understand the situation. It’s all short poems, speaking FOR the children, but really TO adults. I think it's inappropriately classified as a children's book. Perhaps it would be better appreciated by somewhat older children, in class, with time to absorb and discuss in a group. It’s not a book I can imagine choosing to read over and over, which is my standard for buyin ...more
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This story is in English and Spanish. Right away it caught my eye because of that. I need more dual language books in my classroom. This book talks about immigration and the children that have left Central America. The poetry in this book helps the reader understand the hardships of people leaving their homes in search of a better life in America. This story puts a new perspective on the situation, and for those of us who have never gone through it, it helps us understand what others are going t ...more
Kaylee Rowlson
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Genre: Poetry
Unique feature of the book: The translations of the poems from Spanish to English
Grades: This book could be used for students in a variety of grades depending on the use. For students who are learning Spanish it could be used all the way to middle school or high school. In these higher grades this book could be utilized to compare Spanish and English translations and examine words in specific dialects (Central American/Salvadorian). It could also be utilized in grades 3-5 as well to
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Source: 2017 Notable Poetry Books selected by the NCTE Award for Excellence in Children’s Poetry Committee

We Are Like the Clouds is a collection of Spanish and English poems that provides the reader with the understanding and perspective of those that leave El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico to come to the United States in hopes of better opportunities and a better life. The poems detail the journey many children made—sleeping on the desert sand, running through the desert, and riding
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
2017 Notable Poetry Books selected by the NCTE Award for Excellence in Children’s Poetry Committee

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Somos como las nubes is a collection of poems that describe children's journeys as they leave Central American countries and travel to America to live. Each page has 1-3 poems and poems are printed in both English and Spanish. There are some useful footnotes with the vocabulary words as well.

The poems focus on what the children are feeling- homesickness, hope, fear- an
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
really well done book about immigration. I loved that each poem and every aspect of the book was initially in Spanish with the English translation beside it. I really enjoyed the easy way the author depicted the internal struggle with leaving a homeland where a family member or more are left to go to another family member in America. It depicts situations in a safe way that open up the door to talk about immigration and why people would leave one place for another. well done and I really liked t ...more
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a set of poems about children from (mostly) Central America coming to the US. The poems express a wide range of emotions -- fear, nervousness, excitement, hope -- beautifully, but they're also very grounded in physical details.

I'd recommend reading this in Spanish if you can. The English translations are faithful in terms of what they say (usually direct translations, but not always), but the flow of the poetry sometimes felt a little off.

I liked that Argueta used vocab in the poetry tha
Liz Exo
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is a bilingual (Spanish-English) collection of poems that detail the deep struggles of so many young, Central-American latinos who have made the heavy decision to seek refuge in the United States. Some of these poems are more abstract, while some are more concrete; however, the common threads that binds them all together are the struggles, the fears,the resiliency, the sense of hope that they will migrate to the US and find a better, safer life.

The illustrations evoke so much emotion and e
Teresa Cabon
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Each thoughtfully written, this collection of poems details the emotions and hardship that comes with leaving their country to walk to the United States to seek a new, safe home. The powerful words within each poem allow for a deeper more fluid understanding of the tough decision many families make every day. A great book to use to teach students that poems can be used to tell a story that go far beyond words.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully written and illustrated book that helps to explain the plight of so many of our immigrants. I only wish is was more graphic and explicit in describing the horrific details of their home countries and their journeys so that people could really understand what this is all about. In the end there is always hope, which is so hard to understand when you look at the current state of our country. God bless our immigrants!!
Michael P Campana
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds is a poignant bilingual (Spanish / English) picture book of poems inspired by the stories and lives of Latin American children who struggle to journey as both legal and illegal refugees to the United States in order to escape the violence and poverty of their homelands. Each page features one or more poems with their text written in both English and Spanish versions, and which are accompanied by acrylic paintings in subdued colors with imagery that c ...more
Brook Donatelli
This book did a excellent job in it’s poetry by showing the immigrant children’s point of view. It promotes empathy and understanding that most of us, especially children, don’t realize or know of. I like that the poems were in both languages, rather than just being translated into one or the other. The illustrations matched the mood of the poem, which made it enjoyable.
Fear and ignorance are the faces of the anti-immigration movements. I wish those individuals would read these poems and discover the sufferings, the risks, and the hardships in leaving behind one's country of birth.
Erika Cano
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
The poems in this book depict the lives of many refugee children that try to escape to the United States for safety and a better life. The author Argueta brings their fears, hopes, dreams and experiences to life with well crafted words. The author wrote these poems in first person which allows the readers to see the children going through this perspective. The illustrations are nicely drawn and colored. These illustrations depict real life experiences of the refugee children. This book is powerf ...more
Linda Easthope
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Evocative poetry and rich illustrations carry the reader on a child's journey from El Salvador to a new home in the United States. Heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. Reads well in both Spanish and English. Timely and yet timeless.
May 26, 2017 added it
Shelves: libs-642
This series of poems chronicles the journey of migrants from Central America and Mexico to the U.S.A. Each one focuses on the fears, hopes, or dreams of families looking for a better life and the hardships they endure. Realistic illustrations provide context through vivid imagery.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A tough read, prevalent to events the last few weeks. I’d like to incorporate some of these poems into my perspective unit with my 9th graders.
The poems tell the thoughts of children as they leave all they love to make their way to a strange land.
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