Salazar, Aida. Land of the Cranes The. Fiction. Scholastic, 09/2020. 256pp. $17.99. 978-1-338-34380-9. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 3-7.
Oakland writer Aida Salazar uses verse to tell the story of 9-year-old Latinx Betita Quintero and her pregnant mother in an immigration family detention center. When Betita’s father is deported by ICE, she and her mother make a plan to see him at a park in Tijuana through a fence; however, they miss their exit and enter the line for the Mexican border, where they are stopped and taken to a detention center. The abhorrent conditions in the facility are described candidly. Betita expresses herself through her pictures, poetry, and words, meshed together to express her thoughts and feelings. She also turns to the stories her father told her about the Aztecs. Through these stories and her unique picture poems, Betita remains hopeful, even when her mother informs her that they have self-elected to be deported. Salazar creates visceral images that do not pander to stereotypes in this timely story.
Yesica Hurd, San Francisco Public Library