Posts tagged ‘Arizona’

AVIAN VACATION

Robby’s Quest :Ocean Bound

Written by D.C. Rush

Illustrated by Daniela Frongia

Robby'squestocean,pic

Robby’s Quest:Ocean Bound is the second book in the four book series featuring Robby as the protagonist and leader of a diverse flock of bird adventurers. I enjoyed this second chapter book even more than the first. It is more richly illustrated and the story flows seamlessly.

The fourteen feathered friends have arrived in Arizona to which they fled after a hurricane destroyed their winter home in Florida. Lately, the weather has been getting quite warm so the birds have a conference and eventually vote to migrate further west to San Diego where they can take advantage of the cool ocean breezes and plentiful food supply. Ruby has been there with her last flock; she offers to serve as a guide.

Less than a week later, the flock arrives in San Diego, where each group goes off to explore the sights. Two of the younger birds, a robin named Joy and her friend Josie, the sparrow, fly out to investigate a cruise ship, only to fall asleep and find themselves stranded at sea. Robby leads a group of six rescue birds in a search party. The reader follows the adventures of both groups. Will Joy and Josie ever rejoin their group of faithful friends?

This early chapter book story contains endearing story characters and a well integrated plot with just the right amount of challenge for an early elementary school reader. Color illustrations are simple but add interest to the story. Qualities like friendship, team work, bravery, cooperation and loyalty are seen as valuable traits. The ending to this adventure involves a new discussion among the birds as to future plans. Will the friends remain together or find new adventures on their own? Stay tuned.

POIGNANT AND POWERFUL

A Journey of Dreams

by Marge Pellegrino

Journey of Dreamspic

Journey of Dreams is a work of historical fiction which takes place in 1984-85. During that time the Guatemalan government destroyed 440 villages using a slash and burn campaign. More than one million families were displaced and 200,000 people fled Guatemala. Human rights volunteers and religious leaders found safe havens for some of the exiled. It became known as the Sanctuary Movement. These volunteers funneled them to safety and helped them to gain political asylum. In this book Tomasa is a thirteen year old Mayan girl born in the highlands. She embodies the experiences of many of these refugees. Her story reflects the courage of many like herself and reveals the rich tapestry of her culture.

At the beginning of the story Tomasa and her family live in a small village. They farm on their land; the women sell native clothing and crafts at the local market. But lately, the rebel soldiers have been forcing young boys to join the army. They mercilessly wipe out the opposition. One day Tomasa’s mother tells her son Carlos that government planes are spraying harmful chemicals. They are overheard and must flee the village to survive. Conditions continue to deteriorate. Many local villagers have been placed in model villages, which are nothing more than concentration camps. Papa is determined to escape with the family. Soldiers suspect them; they are forced to return. Soon after soldiers come to burn their village. Their grandmother dies trying to escape. They hide and make their way slowly on foot to the capital city. From there they will try to cross into Mexico. Every night as they cower in the fields, Papa tells them a native story, while every night Tomasa has haunting nightmares. Papa must find work while Tomasa, her brother Manuel and baby sister, Maria hide. They are afraid of everyone. It takes three tries to cross the border to Mexico.They almost lose their lives on the river and are endangered by the soldiers shooting at them and the “coyotes” who take their money to protect them.

Finally, as they arrive in Mexico, their friends in the Sanctuary Movement attempt to protect them. Manuel despairs of ever finding his mother and adopts Juana, another refugee as his protector. Their goal is to reach Phoenix, Arizona in the United States and to locate their mother and brother, Every move is fraught with danger. They fear moving around in the daytime. Will they ever find a measure of safety and become a family again?

This book is carefully researched and well written. I finished the book in less than two hours. Age recommendation is eleven and up. The book provides a glimpse into the horror of warfare and human enslavement. The interweaving of native culture in dreams and storytelling is vivid and engaging, The author provides a glossary of Spanish and native terms as well as a map to mark the journey. Teachers will find much to discuss with their students and adults will learn more about a tragedy that resulted in making a native people stronger and more resilient.

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