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Have You Seen Marie? by Sandra Cisneros, Illustrated by Ester Hernandez

Have You Seen Marie? cover

Have You Seen Marie? is a picture book, but it is aimed at adults. The author and illustrator created it as an attempt to help them deal with their grief, for each of them has lost a parent. 

The story is about Sandra Cisneros who suffered from depression after her mother’s death. Her doctor encouraged the author to take antidepressants, but she resisted taking medication. Her friend came to visit her and while there lost her cat, Marie. The act of trying to find her friend’s cat forced Cisneros out of the house and into the world again in order to help her friend. This picture book introduces all of her colorful neighbors as she tries to find Marie.

At first I did not know what to think of this funny, little book. I read it quickly and then read the wonderful afterword. Then I began to read it again since it is a short picture book. The pictures are delightful, and Cisneros’ text is written like free verse poetry.  As I read it over again, I began to love this book. I think that in its simplicity it speaks well to someone who has lost a parent and “feels like an orphan."  In the all-important afterword the author writes, “There is no getting over death, only learning how to travel alongside it.”