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4.25  ·  Rating details ·  740 ratings  ·  172 reviews
A buoyant, breathtaking poem from Juan Felipe Herrera -- brilliantly illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Lauren Castillo -- speaks to every dreaming heart.

Have you ever imagined what you might be when you grow up? When he was very young, Juan Felipe Herrera picked chamomile flowers in windy fields and let tadpoles swim across his hands in a creek. He slept outside and learned
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Candlewick Press (first published June 1st 1985)
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Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  740 ratings  ·  172 reviews

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Jillian Heise
Poem. Memoir. Immigrant story. This is beautiful!!
Pair it with Yuyi Morales' Dreamers.
Amazing picture book based on the poetry of Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera. His life is told in a poetic form. It’s magical and very meaningful.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book, cybils
Imagine is the evocative and inspirational autobiography-told-as-a-poem of the life of poet Juan Felipe Herrera. Many don't often get to hear the details of an immigrant child's life; this fills a huge gap in children's literature. ...more
Abby Johnson
A gorgeous picture book memoir from Mexican-American poet Herrera depicting scenes from his childhood, all the while he was dreaming of what he might become. His love of words is obvious and his passion for writing. This is an inspiring book for all young writers and young kids dreaming of what they might become. Hand to fans of DREAMERS by Yuyi Morales for another inspiring, beautifully illustrated immigrant memoir or PABLO NERUDA by Monica Brown for another picture book illuminating the life o ...more
Cheriee Weichel
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I would give this beautiful book more stars if I could. Juan Felipe Herrera's poem takes us through his life in this poem, and at the same time, inspires readers to image who and what they might become. Lauren Castillo's illustrations incite his words to fly off the pages. ...more
Pablo Vazquez A Camargo
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Edward Sullivan
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful poetic memoir by the U.S. Poet Laureate complemented with lovely, bright and spacious illustrations.
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Imagine if my students appreciated what they had?
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Written by the Poet Laureate - this autobiography is written in verse, and is a beautiful story of immigration, hope and possibility. Might be a good read aloud for my school visits.
Adriana Martinez Figueroa
*slams hands down* let more poets write picture books
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Who Enjoy Beautiful, Poetic Picture-Books
An evocative and inspirational poem from U.S. Poet Laureat Juan Felipe Herrera (2015-2017) is paired with beautiful artwork from Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Lauren Castillo in this lovely picture-book. Describing the many things he did as a young boy, from bidding his friends goodbye, because his migrant-worker family had to move on, to entering a classroom in his new school with no English skills, Herrera concludes with his experience reading his poetry as Poet Laureate, and invites the ...more
And "who might you be?" Imagine. This time, I won't write more. You'll have to "imagine" that Juan Felipe Herrera and Lauren Castillo have created a wonderful book, then hold it in your hands and love it, too. ...more
The lyrical text along with the beautifully painted illustrations make this inspirational biographical picture book a must-have for all bookshelves and classrooms. Juan Felipe Herrera came to this country as a child, unable to speak English, and grew up to become the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017. This book would be wonderful to share with young readers as a way to promote a growth mindset and to let them know that anything is possible with hard work.
Wow! Great message ("if I can do this, imagine what you could do!") that's beautifully written by Juan Felipe Herrera, the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2015-2017, and illustrated to perfection from the always fab Lauren Castillo. ...more
The look at the U.S. Poet Laureate (2015-2017) Juan Felipe Herrera. The son of migrant farmworkers, Juan was able to imagine his life one day as an artist, teacher, activist and poet. Truly inspirational.
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I heard about this book quite a while ago on Matthew Winner's podcast but I just finally picked it up and read it. This book is absolutely beautiful. The message is very inspirational, and the illustrations are just lovely. ...more
Kris Dersch
The former Poet Laureate's life in a poem, gorgeously illustrated as we follow this kid through the years. I thought this might go over my kid's head but he totally got it, saw the kid growing through the years as his world kept much here to appreciate, beautiful book. ...more
Laura Harrison
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: omg-cant-wait, 2018
A definite 2019 Caldecott contender!
Shanique Edwards
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yr-2019
So lovely, both the words and the illustrations!
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
Gorgeous illustrations along with lovely and inspiring words. All around wonderful.
Alice Ball
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Beautiful life story; warm, yearning illustrations.
Liz B
Mar 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: library, picture-book
Sweet little poem/ picture book.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever imagined what you want to be when you grow up?

This story is based on Poet, Herrera's poem, "Imagine" and using Lauren Castillo's wonderful illustrations to help tell his story.

Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Truly Delightful. Truly Reflective. Truly Inspirational.

8/31/2020: Love this memoir; love the imagery and message.
sarah diehl
@kidlitexchange #partner

The 21st U.S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, tells his autobiography in poetic form. Herrera’s parents were migrant workers, from Mexico, who worked on farms in California. The story focuses on Herrera's boyhood; Places he went, objects he cherished, chores he helped with, and words he learned. Each memory ends with the word: “imagine.” The final stanza, which tells of Herrera as Poet Laureate, ends with: “imagine what you could do.” He writes of learning words in E
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This autobiography in free verse tells readers about a young boy - the author - who imagined all that he could do in life. Eventually his dreams came true, as he became the first Chicano Poet Laureate of the United States in 2015.

The format is somewhat unusual. Each stanza in the two-page spreads begins with “If I,” and ends with the prompt “imagine.” For example, he writes:

“If I moved to the winding city
Of tall, bending buildings
And skipped
To a new concrete school
I had never seen,

“If I
Imagine is a book featuring autobiographical poetry tracing from a person's work-enveloped childhood to a new life in a school after immigrating. Despite the changes in his life, Juan remains imaginative, crafting beautiful poetry describing his experiences. There are poems about his family, scenery, and finally, his school-life that led to his passion as a poet.

Juan is shown to have practiced spelling words by comparing them in Spanish, eventually weaving these words together to form a story.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh, the possibilities in a k-2 classroom! Read aloud for joy and then read aloud again and again. Herrera's memoir reaches out and grabs the student (as reader or listener), begging the student to respond. When you read aloud, students can read aloud (or read along with you) the reoccurring phrase "imagine" on each page or (if they've heard it read already) after you read a page, they can respond with "Imagine what I could do!"

Castillo's "ink and foam monoprint" illustrations are worthy of looki
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yabc-reviews
See my full review here:

IMAGINE is a gorgeous autobiographical poem with accompanying artwork and an inspirational tone. Herrera was the U.S Poet Laureate and the son of migrant farmers. He tells his story of growing up and reaching this laudable post through a lovely poem. Each page features a scene from his life growing up, beginning with "If I..." and ending with an invitation to imagine what the reader could do. The poem/book discusses the difficultie
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Poet Laureate of the United States, Herrera here writes a poem that is filled with wonder and possibilities. He invites young readers into his own childhood, filled with tadpoles in creeks, sleeping outside, and feeding chickens. Though his childhood also had goodbyes to people when he moved away and fetching water through the forest. Herrera shares moving to the United States and learning English. Filling pages with words and ink, creating poems and songs. The book ends with him speaking on the ...more
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Juan Felipe Herrera is the only son of Lucha Quintana and Felipe Emilio Herrera; the three were campesinos living from crop to crop on the roads of the San Joaquín Valley, Southern California and the Salinas Valley. Herrera's experiences as the child of migrant farmers have strongly shaped his work, such as the children's book Calling the Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats award in 1997. He is a ...more

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