A sensitive story-- that moves more by human feeling than by the overt facts of its surroundings- pictures the problems of natives and whites in Guatemala today and it furthers this writer's record as one of the most lyric in the juvenile field. As a youngster of 12, Santiago lives in Guatemala City with Tia Alicia who runs a small hotel and who had adopted Santiago when he was brought to her as a baby by his Indian mother. Devoted to the boy, Tia Alicia is doing her best to educate him and bring him up in the Spanish tradition- the conventions and artistry of which she holds dear to her heart. Though Santiago loves and appreciates her in return, he is more interested in the fortunes of his other friend Jim whose father owns a banana plantation and who is being sent away to college in the States. In the interim that brings Santiago of age, he learns of his Indian heritage- of the political struggle to bring his people out of poverty- and realizes he cannot become the ""Spanish gentleman"" Tia Alicia wants. Jim too, decides to pioneer in Africa rather than work with his father and, with this added incentive, Santiago determines to become a teacher. A worthwhile book but without the ""snap"" and popular appeal that will make it sell.