Spanish / Colombia
Johnny y el mar
(Johnny and the sea)
Escobar de Nogales, Melba (text)
Builes, Elizabeth (illus.)
Medellín: Tragaluz, 2014. – 115 p.
Mother / Son – Divorce – Runaway – Outsider
“Johnny y el mar” is set on a Caribbean island. Eight-year-old Pedro and his mother travel there for a holiday – without the father, who has left the family, as Pedro is told right after their arrival. Angry and sad, the boy runs away and, in the dark, ends up with old Johnny, who lives in a hut on the beach. In order to find yourself, you need to get lost first. The gruff yet caring loner Johnny manages to ignite a special quality in Pedro that will give him strength to follow his path. Melba Escobar portrays her well-rounded, multi-layered characters in a language that is simple, yet also full of nuances. In addition, she imbues this holiday and family tale with a hint of pirate romance. Finally, the book’s design will also catch the readers’ attention: the cover, the typography, the chapter headings, and the delicate colour illustrations by Elizabeth Builes that won a competition held by the publishers.