Parents' Guide to

Small Room, Big Dreams: The Journey of Julián and Joaquin Castro

By Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

Relatable bio shows twins' success inspired by family.

Small Room, Big Dreams: The Journey of Julián and Joaquin Castro Poster Image

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This engaging, inspiring biography has powerful messages about working hard, following your dreams, working for social justice, and honoring the sacrifices of those who helped you succeed. Small Room, Big Dreams: The Journey of Julián and Joaquin Castro shows the roots of the boys' commitment to education and social justice, inspired by their immigrant grandmother who cleaned other people's houses and took care of wealthier people's kids, and by their mother who saw injustice firsthand: She grew up under segregation, not allowed to play on certain playgrounds, swim in certain pools, or dine at restaurants reserved for "Whites only." When she campaigned for Mexican American political candidates, her boys were at her side.

Mirelle Ortega's colorful illustrations emphasize the warm family bonds and convey that these were regular kids who achieved great things and broke barriers. The family story alone is gripping and fun to follow. The political context adds an extra layer, but even kids who are too young to understand the ins and outs of politics will enjoy the story of two brothers who go far, inspired by their mom and grandma.

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