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THE WALLS OF CARTAGENA by Julia Durango

THE WALLS OF CARTAGENA

By Julia Durango (Author) , Tom Pohrt (Illustrator)

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: July 29th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4169-4102-6
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

In the voice of a reflective storyteller, a slave boy in 17th-century Cartagena, Colombia, tells his story of the injustice around him and how he makes a difference. Born on a Portuguese slave ship and rescued by Father Pedro, a Jesuit priest, 13-year-old Calepino is raised by a wealthy Spanish benefactor. Because Calepino speaks 11 languages, Father Pedro uses him as an interpreter when caring for slaves freshly arrived from Africa. He dreads descending into the slave ships with “hundreds of half-dead, terrified souls chained inside the cargo hold” and marvels at Father Pedro’s saintly endurance. He also admires the selfless dedication of the Jewish doctor who cares for the exiled lepers of Cartagena. Touched by an Angolan slave and her son, Calepino vows to help them, but how? Then their very lives are threatened and he finds his own way to save them. Based on real historical characters, this fictionalized account offers both well-researched detail on a buried chapter in the African slave saga and a clever young hero. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 8-12)