SACRED LEAF by Deborah Ellis

SACRED LEAF

The Cocalero Novels
Age Range: 10 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

Bolivians have long consumed coca leaves, the raw ingredient in cocaine, as a mild stimulant tea to minimize the effects of hunger and altitude sickness. In this fast-paced addition to her series about cocaleros, Bolivian subsistence coca farmers, Ellis continues to follow Diego, 12, and others caught up and mangled in the global war on drugs. At the end of I Am a Taxi (2006), Diego found sanctuary with a family of cocaleros. Soon the Bolivian army arrives and destroys the family’s crops and livelihood. Bereft, they join a cocaleros’ protest. Tension builds as angry families, including infants and the elderly, blockade a highway and face down an increasingly frustrated army. Diego is torn between supporting the farmers and longing to return to his own family in Cochabamba. Ethical issues are conveyed powerfully, but without preaching. Characters on both sides—an army captain, torn between job and support for his community, reckless young radicals in search of excitement—are vividly rendered. Humor leavens the mix. An exciting story that confronts young readers with a very different kind of childhood. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-88899-751-7
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Groundwood
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2007




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