Bright Star

Book review by
Monica Encarnacion, Common Sense Media
Bright Star Book Poster Image
Beautiful, poignant tale of border life through fawn's eyes.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Some Spanish words and phrases: "hermosa criatura," "corazoncito temloroso," "despacito," "te amo." Tells the story of a whitetail fawn following her mother to find water and food but teaches about all kinds of life at the borderlands, a place that author-illustrator Yuyi Morales in her author's note describes as "harsh and beautiful, where Mexico and the United States meet." Read the author's powerful "I made this book" statements at the end of the book to learn more, including all the reasons why the author wrote this book and how she did it.

Positive Messages

Positive messages about belonging and the need to feel safe will resonate with all children, especially those whose safety is threatened due to the immigration crisis in the United States. "No matter who you are, where you've come from, or where you're going, you should always be honored, respected, cared for, and loved." Beautiful brown skinned children (seen at the end of the book) deserve a beautiful world!

Positive Role Models

A loving mother cares for her fawn. The borderlands are full of life, including beautiful wildlife. Everyone crossing the border has their own story, their own hopes, and their own dreams for the future.

Diverse Representations

Dynamic mixed-media art depicts beautiful brown skinned children. Sheds light on the migrant experience and the things that children should never have to endure at the border.

Violence & Scariness

No violence but some darker imagery might be a bit scary. A fawn loses its mother. A jaguar lurks in the darkness. And a fawn and other animals seem trapped behind the border walls.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bright Star is by author-illustrator Yuyi Morales, who's won numerous awards for her books, including a Caldecott Honor for Viva Frida. This is her first book since her New York Times best-selling book Dreamers, and here she continues to use a combination of powerful, sparse language, and complex imagery to shed light on the experience of immigrant children crossing the Mexican border into the United States. This is a beautiful story about growth, empowerment and finding one's voice and focuses on the beautiful wildlife that lives on the borderlands. It follows the plight of a fawn who's been separated from its mother. Yet, by the end we understand all the ways in which the fawn's life could mirror that of an immigrant child traveling across the border. Children looking for their place in a world of uncertainty will relate to this story. Spanish words and phrases are part of the story. Lucero, an all-Spanish translated version, was released simultaneously.

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What's the story?

BRIGHT STAR is the story of a little fawn making her way through a border landscape and teaming with flora and fauna native to the borderland region. When the little fawn finds herself alone, a gentle but empowering voice encourages her to face her fears as she comes across an obstacle in the form of an insurmountable border barrier. You can imagine that any child crossing the border may feel as the little fawn is feeling, scared but also hopeful, as she imagines "the most beautiful world."

Is it any good?

With a few poignant words and some very tender images, this gorgeous multimedia picture book is filled with beautiful textures and colors that draw the reader in. The message in Bright Star is loud and clear no matter who you are, where you come from, or where you're going: We must care for one another and find the courage to speak our own truth, even when faced with darkness. The story ends with beautifully depicted brown skinned children and an author's note that weaves in a visceral sense of urgency as the author shares with us all the reasons why she made this book. Large print makes it an easy read for younger kids.This is a story that will resonate with all, but especially with children affected by the immigration crisis in the United States.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the little fawn in Bright Star might be feeling. The fawn goes on a journey that has her experiencing a variety of places and emotions. How can you tell what she's feeling? What clues does the artist give? 

  • At the end of the book the author asks us to imagine "the most beautiful world." What does a beautiful world look like to you? What can we do to make our world more beautiful, for all to enjoy?

  • In what ways do you feel like the main character in this book? What are your fears? Your hopes for the future?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love immigrant tales and bilingual stories

Themes & Topics

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