Pacha has an extraordinary imagination even for a nine year old, and often finds herself straddling the world of dreams and reality. She is introverted and quirky. Luckily, she has a few core friends and a supportive family. From Papa, she learns how to use her mind. From Mama, she learns to use her heart and imagination. Pacha imagines the world as a giant pajama party, everyone in their favorite color and dancing to the music. Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t care about her “crazy pajama dreams” and she tends to let unpleasant elements of waking life – such as her asthma or the bullies at school – sidetrack her.
Soon after Pacha turned nine, Mama made her a new pair of pajamas, like Pacha’s grandmother – Abuelita – had done for her. At night, Pacha rests easy knowing that her PJs are going to take her on a magical dream adventure. Like Dorothy from the Wizard Of Oz, Pacha notices that her family members symbolically show up as different characters in her dream adventures. Although Pacha doesn’t realize it, she awakens transformed by the night’s adventure. In the morning, she carefully folds her magical pajamas, places them in the chest which she locks with a special key. She notices that the patterns and characters on the PJs often change overnight and worries that her family may also notice the changes.
Pacha’s pajamas are magical. They are an object of Pacha’s affection and connect her to the dreamworld. At night, the plants and animals on the pajamas guide Pacha on dream adventures to learn more about herself and remember her connection to the natural world. When Pacha awakens, her pajamas often have a small change that reflects her adventure like a stain, a slight change in design, or even a feather in her pocket from the night’s adventure. Pacha goes to great lengths to make sure that others don’t notice the changes.
Paco wants to be like his big sis Pacha. Unlike his sister, he does not often remember his dreams. In fact, he is ultra competitive with Pacha about dreaming (among other things), often making up ludicrous stories about his own dream life. Every once in awhile, his great-grandma Abuelita appears in his dreams, reminding him to tell the truth. Pacha thinks he needs to take a chill pill and just let her be. Paco stuffs the pockets of his overalls with gadgets including a pendulum he uses for guidance and for hypnotizing friends and animals. Being slightly on the autism spectrum, he sometimes feels overwhelmed or discombobulated. However, he has great attention for detail and numbers, which comes in handy for the rest of the family.
Mama has a magical air about her. She is Pacha’s dream teacher, though Pacha can be resistant at times. She engages Pacha in coded conversation about dreams that Papa and Paco don’t understand. Mama started weaving the pajamas when she was pregnant and put a wish into every stitch. Born in Mexico City, Mama grew up in a small Los Angeles apartment with her parents and three siblings. Something was always falling apart: a bursting pipe, a leaky air conditioner, faulty wires. Mama got very handy. Mama takes that DIY attitude into every aspect of her life. She’s confident, and often figures out what to do on the fly. Challenges are puzzles with answers waiting to be discovered. But she also worries about things she cannot control and tends to take on too much herself, which can make her feel unsupported and resentful. She and Papa both think the kids are growing up too fast.
Despite growing up in south-central Los Angeles, Papa’s always had a passionate love for zoology and botany, as well as weird facts and stories of other species. Plants and animals always seemed easier to get along with than the bullies in his barrio. While most children had a dog or cat for a pet, Papa had a wolf/husky mix, a rare snake, and even hatched caterpillars in his tiny backyard garden into butterflies. He does not kill anything. If he sees a wounded animal on the side of the road, he’ll take it to the a refuge, or nurture it back to health himself and release it back into the wild. He still does a lot of reading on folklore and myth, and is a great storyteller. Papa can be overly clingy with Pacha. His jokes which used to have Pacha in stiches are not landing anymore. That and the fact that Pacha barely hugs him anymore, makes him sad from time to time. Papa is also bothered by Pacha and Paco being on screens and devices all the time.