Johnny, the Sea, and Me

Johnny, the Sea, and Me

  • ISBN: 9781592704095
  • Publication Date: July 16, 2024


Price: $16.95

A timid ten-year-old boy meets Johnny, a gruff islander who will change his life, in Johnny, the Sea, and Me, a heartwarming middle-grade novel by Melba Escobarabout finding yourself and your place in the world—featuring illustrations by award-winning artist Elizabeth Builes.

Translated from Spanish by Sara Lissa Paulson

Pedro has always dreamed of going to the sea. So when his mom takes him on a special trip to a small island in the Caribbean, he’s so happy that he grows an extra inch! But the troubles at home—bullying from classmates and an absent father—find a way to follow Pedro, even on vacation… Overwhelmed, the boy takes to the beach and runs away, hoping to leave his worries far behind.

That’s when he meets Johnny, an islander descended from pirates. At first, Pedro is frightened by Johnny’s imposing appearance and brusque manners. But Johnny, along with his chatty parrot Victoria, takes young Pedro under his wing and shares his island and his stories with him, thereby changing Pedro’s life. Because sometimes, like Pedro, you have to lose yourself to find yourself.


One of Latinx in Publishing's Most Anticipated July 2024 Releases!

? "Translator Paulson (Book of Questions) gracefully incorporates hints of magical realism from Colombian writer Escobar... Escobar’s compatriot Builes contributes delicately lined artwork to this tale, which ruminates on the healing presence of a figure who lives life on his own terms."
—Publishers Weekly

"Made up of salient early moments in a boy’s coming of age, this Colombian import contains glints of magical realism and a picaresque, albeit parrot-narrated, pirate subplot. Pedro grows and shrinks according to his emotional state, and Escobar’s wry musings about treasure—is it the purported pirates’ plundered gold, or the island’s magnificent, prolific breadfruit tree?—sparkle like the seven-colored sea. Builes’ pale, delicate illustrations add humorous touches. Lively and thought provoking."
—Kirkus Reviews

“Originally published in Colombia, the story is beautifully told in spare language, evidencing the truth that less is more. Pedro and Johnny are well-developed characters, and their warm relationship is nicely realized. The book itself, beautifully designed, is enriched by lovely illustrations by artist Builes. It’s a treasure.”

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