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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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