Spanish / Colombia
24 señales para descubrir a un alien
(24 signs for recognizing an alien)
Muñoz Toro, Juliana
Builes, Elizabeth (illus.)
Medellín: Tragaluz, 2017. – 123 p.
Family | Father | Son | Alienation
White Ravens issue: 2017
Reading age: 8+
Ben doesn’t understand his father. He often seems so strange that Ben believes his father is an extra-terrestrial inhabited by an alien. In the book’s twenty-four chapters, Ben looks for evidence to confirm his suspicion and wonders how things came to be like this. Why does Dad yell at Mom and hardly say a word to his son? The first-person narrator tries to explain his environment using a mix of fantasy, incomprehension, humour, and observational skills. Based on Ben’s perspective, a picture gradually forms of an ailing family that is close to falling apart. Despite no real happy ending, the family still moves forward together, and Ben finally learns something personal about his father, who lets his guard down a little and gives his son insight into his own childhood. Thus, an initial, fragile connection forms between the two. In her very worthwhile children’s book debut, Juliana Muñoz Toro (b. 1988) offers an unadorned, unusual view into the conflicts and mechanisms of an ordinary family.