Wednesday, November 27, 2019


Written by Elisa Amado
Illustrated by Abraham Urias

-Age Range: 12 - 17 years
-Grade Level: 7 - 9
-Hardcover: 104 pages
-Publisher: Annick Press
-Language: English
-ISBN-10: 1773212664
-ISBN-13: 978-1773212661

Thirteen-year-old Manuelito is a gentle boy who lives with his family in a tiny village in the Guatemalan countryside. But life is far from idyllic: PACsarmed civil patrolare a constant presence in the streets, and terrifying memories of the country’s war linger in the villagers’ collective conscience. Things deteriorate further when government-backed drug gangs arrive and take control of the village. Fearing their son will be forced to join a gang, Manuelito’s parents make the desperate decision to send him to live with his aunt in America.

With just a bus ticket and a small amount of cash in hand, Manuelito begins his hazardous journey to Mexico, then the U.S., in search of asylum. But in the end, dangers such as the crooked “coyote”or human smugglerhis parents have entrusted their son’s life to may be nothing compared to the risks Manuelito faces when he finally reaches America.

Manuelito’s titular character is just one of the staggering one hundred thousand children from the Northern Triangle of Central AmericaGuatemala, El Salvador, and Honduraswho have made this perilous journey to escape their war-torn countries. Many are now detained in Mexico, separated from their parents and without access to lawyers, facing the unthinkable prospect of being sent back to the homes and danger they risked so much to escape.

Drawing on years of experience working with child refugees like Manuelito, Elisa Amado’s powerful story, illustrated with striking poignancy by Abraham Urias, brings to light the dire circumstances of so many children, so close to home.


“Paints a searing picture.” —Youth Services Book Review, (Stephanie Tournas Youth Services Book Review)

“Compelling and powerful.” —CM Reviews, (Sarah Wethered CM Reviews)

“This hard-hitting graphic novel . . . is an eye-opening, moving, and timely read.” —School Library Journal, (Kelley Gile School Library Journal)

“A blunt, effective record of the refugee crisis that’s wounding the Americas.” —Kirkus Reviews, January 14, 2019

“Gripping and all too authentic . . . The book will raise questions, making it a great discussion starter for a class studying current issues.” —School Library Connection, (Karen Alexander School Library Connection)

“Guatemala-born Amado’s text is spare, direct, and emotional—communicating the anxiety and desperation that the characters feel, especially once their hopes for safety in the U.S. are dashed.” —Quill & Quire,
(Tasha Spillett Quill & Quire)

“A powerful and edgy graphic novel that explores the refugee crisis in a way that makes it accessible to younger readers.” —Globe and Mail, (Jeffrey Canton Globe and Mail)

“Neither author nor artist holds back in presenting the life-and-death scenarios unrelentingly happening now.” —Booklist, (Terry Hong Booklist)

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