La Tierra De Las Grullas (Land of the Cranes) Spanish Edition

La Tierra De Las Grullas (Land of the Cranes) Spanish Edition
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Release Date
September 07, 2021
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From the prolific author of The Moon Within comes the heart-wrenchingly beautiful story in verse of a young Latinx girl who learns to hold on to hope and love even in the darkest of places: a family detention center for migrants and refugees. Betita, de nueve años, sabe que es una grulla. Papi le contó la historia desde antes que su familia emigrara a Los Ángeles buscando refugio de la guerra del narco en México. Los aztecas procedían de un lugar llamado Aztlán, en lo que es hoy el sureste de Estados Unidos, cuyo nombre significa "tierra de las grullas", y establecieron su gran ciudad en el centro del universo: Tenochtitlán, la actual Ciudad de México. Cuenta una profesía que su gente regresaría un día a vivir entre las grullas en la tierra prometida. Papi le dice a Betita que ellos son grullas que han regresado a su hogar.

Un día, el querido padre de Betita es arrestado por el Servicio de Control de Inmigración y Aduanas y deportado a México. Betita y su mamá ingrávida se quedan solas, pero finalmente son también detenidas y deben aprender a sobrevivir en un campamento de detención de familias en las afueras de Los Ángeles. Incluso en estas condiciones crueles e inhumanas, Betita encuentra amparo en su propia poesía y en la comunidad que ella y su madre encuentran en el campamento. Las voces de sus compañeros en busca de asilo vuelan por encima del odio que los mantiene enjaulados y que amenaza cada día con hacerlos caer más bajo de lo que jamás imaginaron. ¿Podrán Betita y su familia volver a ser una sola?

Nine-year-old Betita knows she is a crane. Papi has told her the story, even before her family fled to Los Angeles to seek refuge from cartel wars in Mexico. The Aztecs came from a place called Aztlan, what is now the Southwest US, called the land of the cranes. They left Aztlan to establish their great city in the center of the universe -- Tenochtitlan, modern-day Mexico City. It was prophesized that their people would one day return to live among the cranes in their promised land. Papi tells Betita that they are cranes that have come home.

Then one day, Betita's beloved father is arrested by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) and deported to Mexico. Betita and her pregnant mother are left behind on their own, but soon they too are detained and must learn to survive in a family detention camp outside of Los Angeles. Even in cruel and inhumane conditions, Betita finds heart in her own poetry and in the community she and her mother find in the camp. The voices of her fellow asylum seekers fly above the hatred keeping them caged, but each day threatens to tear them down lower than they ever thought they could be. Will Betita and her family ever be whole again?

Editor reviews

2 reviews
La Tierra de Las Grullas-Land of the Cranes
(Updated: January 26, 2022)
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What worked: Powerful, haunting tale of nine-year-old Betita's time in a US deportation camp. This is the Spanish version of the novel LAND OF THE CRANES. As a former bilingual teacher, Salazar's story resonated with me on the many stories my own former student's families shared with me with the fear of La Miga-immigration police of the 90s/00s. I taught in a district next door to East L.A. An area where Betita lived with her family.

There's is something that the Spanish language conveys that the English seem to miss. There are so many haunting pieces to this story that tugged at my heart and the fate of children like Betita that were rounded up and deported.

Betita listens to the stories of her Papi on the legends of Aztlan and the grullas-cranes. Her poetry is symbolic of how she feels they can fly to safety to how she loses hope while in the camps and fears that their alas-wings have been clipped. But at the end, there is hope that shines through.

There are some beautifully written passages throughout. Here are some of my favorites:

When Marisel, a Dreamer, is thrown in the cell and brutally beaten, Betita writes:

...Cuando cantas...
la verdad....
ni siquiera una paliza..
te hara callar.

When you sing
the truth
not even a beating
will quiet you.

Betita's way of coping includes also drawing what she sees inside the cells. The inhumanity the guards show the undocumented citizen is realistic and brutal. It's one that I strongly feel needs to be told.

The Spanish translation brings an extra layer to this already compelling tale.

Beautiful, powerful free-verse tale of a young girl and her family's experiences within the deportation camps during the Trump administration. This is a story that needs to be told. Haunting, poignant, and also filled with hope. This story is sure to stay with readers long after they finish reading as it gives humanity to the plight of those at the border.
Good Points
1. Powerful free-verse tale of nine-year-old Betita's time in a US deportation camp
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