Ellis, Deborah. Sacred leaf

Ellis, Deborah. Sacred leaf

Claire Rosser

ELLIS, Deborah. Sacred leaf. (The Cocalero novels.) Groundwood. 207p. c2007. 978-0-88899-751-7 $16.95. JS

Known as a journalist and as an author of children’s books that tell of the plight of children in difficult circumstances, Ellis here continues the story of Diego in Bolivia, caught up in the drug wars, that she started in I Am a Taxi. Diego’s parents are in prison, and Diego has been kidnapped to work in the hidden factories in the jungle where coca is turned into the illegal drug, cocaine. Sacred Leaf picks up the story as Diego, scared and starving, is taken in by a poor farmer and his family. This family is harvesting their coca plants, considered sacred medicine by their people. Just as the coca leaves are ready to be sold in the market, soldiers come to destroy the crop. The poor farmers in the region not only lose a vital part of their lives, but also lose what cash they can earn from selling the leaves. The farmers join together to form a blockade in an act of civil disobedience. This short book tells why they are doing this. It’s a dramatic story that manages the nuances: not all soldiers are bad, they too are conflicted; the protestors sometimes make foolish decisions. It’s best to read this book as part of the series and as part of a larger consideration of South American culture. Claire Rosser, KLIATT

J–Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.

S–Recommended for senior high school students.

COPYRIGHT 2007 Kliatt

COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group