Isla to Island

by Alexis Castellanos is a gorgeous, nearly wordless graphic novel that tells a story through exquisitely drawn pictures and poignant visual details. In 1950s Cuba, after Fidel Castro’s overthrow of Batista’s presidency, young Marisol is sent away from her parents’ home in Havana to the safety of New York City, where she will live with an older couple, the Delfino's. As Marisol leaves her home in Cuba, the book goes from colorful illustrations to black, white, and gray, mirroring Marisol’s emotional state as she goes from the known to the unknown. She feels lost, doesn’t speak English, and the Delfinos are kind, but their ability to understand her seems limited. Slowly, Marisol begins to open up to her new life: the school library becomes a learning tool and a place of joy, the Delfinos encourage her passion for plants, and a letter from home arrives, bringing comfort. This is a beautiful, emotional story. (Graphic Novel)