I’m a big fan of Castellanos. If you haven’t seen, I interviewed her and Nina Moreno and we chatted about art. And then I saw her first solo project I was so happy. And Isla to Island is something truly special. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
This stunning wordless graphic novel follows a young girl in the 1960s who immigrates from Cuba to the United States and must redefine what home means to her.
Marisol loves her colorful island home. Cuba is vibrant with flowers and food and people…but things are changing. The home Marisol loves is no longer safe—and then it’s no longer her home at all. Her parents are sending her to the United States. Alone.
Nothing about Marisol’s new life in cold, gray Brooklyn feels like home—not the language, school, or even her foster parents. But Marisol starts to realize that home isn’t always a place. And finding her way can be as simple as staying true to herself.
So I already knew I’d love Castellanos’ style of illustrations. But seeing a whole story together, renewed my sense of awe. Castellanos balances stunning and meaningful color work with attention to detail. There are close up panels that may lack words – the entire graphic novel has very few words – but they make a startling impact. From a technical stand point alone, Isla to Island is a stunning graphic novel. However the story is also emotional about having to leave our home.
(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)
I teared up at so many places and Castellanos’ integration of color and story is brilliant. It’s simultaneously heart wrenching and precious. This is a must read if you love graphic novels, are interested in stories about belonging, and finding home. Find Isla to Island on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.