New York: Harper Trophy
2007, 224 pages
Recounts the fictional story of a young Guatemalan boy, Santiago, as he escapes from murderous government soldiers and sails to freedom in America in a small sailboat. As the night sky over his burning village glows red, Santiago saves his four-year-old sister, Angelina, and at the encouragement of his wounded Uncle Ramos, he travels to the farm where his uncle taught him to sail a small boat called a "cayuco." The journey vividly captures the fear and determination that characterize actual refugee stories. Santiago is a descendant of indigenous Guatemalans, known as the "first people," who live in rural farming communities trapped between the communist rebels and oppressive government soldiers armed by the United States in the 1980s. When the first people were tricked into signing away their property to the government, the guerrillas began to recruit in the villages causing tense relationships with neighbors spying on neighbors and ultimately, the destruction of countless villages and mass murders. Santiago and Angelina face starvation, dehydration, pirates, sharks, and violent weather to sail from Guatemala to Florida. (IP)
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