Written by Aida Salazar
Published by Scholastic, Inc.
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?
Look for the Spanish version, La tierra de las grullas.
Primary ISBN: 9781338343809
Publication Date: May 2022
Available As: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, eBook
Middle Grade, Age 08 or older
Community Represented: Mexican/Mexican American
Themes: Award Winner, Citizenship, Cultural Empowerment & Joy: Storytelling, Deportation, Detention, Family Relationship: Parents, Family Separation: By Detention, Family Separation: Different Immigration Status, Immigrant: Undocumented, Loss of Childhood, Multilingual Character, Own Voices/Lived Experience, Refugee Camp, Refugee: War/Conflict, US/Mexican Border Crossing
Setting: Los Angeles CA
Character’s New Arrival/New American Status: Refugee
Book Creator(s) Connection to the Community Represented: Own Voices/Lived Experience
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