Though haunted by memories of his father’s arrest in Pinochet’s Chile, Daniel Aguilar has made a new life for himself in the United States–far from politics. But when his father is released, Daniel sees what years of prison and torture have done. Trying to reach his father, Daniel, along with his “gringa” girlfriend, finds himself in the democracy struggle of the country he thought he left behind.
This books was very different, it dealt with aspects of life that are not usually brought up in Young Adult literature. I believe that it is very important that we are educated about different aspects of life, because you never know, maybe a book like this will bring freedom to a kid who has had a similar experience or it could help prevent this from happening to someone else.
Curbstone Press 2009
Author Bio: Lyn Miller-Lachmann is the Editor-in-Chief of MultiCultural Review, the author of the award-winning reference book Our Family, Our Friends, Our World: An Annotated Guide to Significant Multicultural Books for Children and Teenagers (1992), the editor of Once Upon a Cuento (2003), a collection of short stories for young readers by Latino authors, and the author of the novel Dirt Cheap (2006), an eco-thriller for adult readers. For Gringolandia, she received a Work-in-Progress Grant from the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrator.
I had the pleasure of having the author do a guest post about her book!
Why I Write Young Adult Fiction
I was taping a map of the New York City subway system to my classroom door, in preparation for the American history field trip in a few weeks, when one of my eleventh graders came to apologize for missing class that day. He gazed at the map and then pointed to a station in the West Village.
“That's where I'm going,” he said. “I'm running away.”
Questioning him further, I found out that he planned to move in with his sister. “Does she know you're coming?” I asked.
I don't know if my student ever did run away and, if he did, whether his sister took him in. I ended up leaving this private school in Connecticut at the end of the school year and the next fall began teaching high school in the New York City Public Schools. But I couldn't get my former student's story out of my head. Soon after, I combined it with my own experiences of leaving Connecticut for New York City to write my first young adult novel, Hiding Places, a “riches to rags” story of a 17-year-old runaway in New York. Its main character surprises a family member when he shows up at her door, and when she can't take care of him, he ends up in a shelter and then on his own, trying to put his life back together.
Even when I stopped writing young adult fiction to write other kinds of book-reference books, textbooks, and a novel for adult readers-I kept coming back to it. Of all the areas in which I write, it is definitely my favorite!
I've taught full-time or part-time at the middle and high school levels for nearly 30 years. I enjoy teaching and being with young people. It's such an exciting time of life. You're trying things for the first time, trying to figure out who you are and where you fit into the world. And it's a time of rebellion against what your parents and society want you to be, as you get to decide what you want to do with your life.
People have always considered me a troublemaker, and rebellion lies at the heart of my writing. That is certainly true of my new young adult novel, Gringolandia. The main character, Daniel Aguilar, has a father who's a rebel. Daniel and his family life in a country that's under a military dictatorship (Chile in the 1980s), and Daniel's father, Marcelo, drives a taxi by day but at night writes, prints, and distributes an illegal newspaper that describes the crimes of the military government. For that, he's arrested in front of Daniel and sent to prison, where he's tortured. The rest of the family flees to the United States. There, Daniel rebels against his parents by wanting to become a U.S. citizen and to have nothing to do with the country where he was born. So when Daniel's father is released and rejoins his family, there's a huge problem between father and son. And how Daniel solves the problem will determine the person he will become and the life he will have.
Papá coughs and turns toward my mother in the back seat. “Has the other one adjusted this well?”
She hesitates as if she too is surprised by the way he's asked the question. I think he should be proud of how we've done. Except for poor Tina.
“It's been hard,” Mamá says. “Daniel's helped a lot, especially with his sister. I thought he'd have the worst time, being older.”
“It wasn't that bad,” I mumble. I don't like to think about the first few months, when I couldn't understand what anyone was saying. I had no friends and sat alone in my bedroom playing the guitar my favorite uncle, Tío Claudio, had given me before I left Chile. My first soccer team changed all that. After a year or so, I learned enough English to avoid being a complete social and academic zero, and now I speak it with an accent that makes girls go wild.
“Well, don't get too comfortable,” Papá says. “We're going back to our country.”
My mouth drops open. “Marcelo,” my mother says in a low voice, almost a growl.
“As soon as I convince the rest of you to come with me.”
You're crazy, I want to say. After all they did to you, you want to go back? And what about our lives here? But I wait for Mamá to answer first, the way I've been raised to do.
“They gave you three days to leave. I assume you're banned from returning.”
Papá takes a final puff of his cigarette, drops it on the floor of Willie's van, and grinds it out with his good foot. “I have my ways.”
“Forget it. It's too dangerous.”
Papá glares at her, like she's not supposed to backtalk him either. I press my lips together as tight as I can and ease the van onto the interstate. I can't go back to Chile. Not even Mamá knows this, but I've written for the papers to get my U.S. citizenship, and when I turn eighteen, it's going to be official. I glance at Mamá through the rear view mirror. She looks helpless, confused, and small.
I turn the radio on low while Mamá and Papá talk about the situation in their faraway country. On the sports station they're still rehashing the Bulls game that finished a couple of hours ago. I listen until the station begins to crackle and fade. (from Gringolandia, pp. 27-28)
That post really inspired me. It is really nice when an author has a great reason for writing a book.
Contest!Ok I know you really want to get your hands on this book! Am I right? Well at each of the tour stops the Author is giving away a signed copy of the book! Each contest only lasts a day so get your entries in! To enter mine just leave a comment with your email (No email no entry)
Remember to check out all of the other posts in the tour for more chances to win!
Oct 29 Kelsey The Book Scout http://thebookscout.blogspot.com/
Oct 30 Lilibeth ChicaReader http://lilibethramos.blogspot.com
Nov 1 Reggie The Undercover Book Lover (Not Really) book http://theundercoverbooklover.blogspot.com/
Nov 2 Melaine Melaine’s Musings book reviewNov 3 Mariah A Reader’s Adventure! http://mariah-readingadventure.blogspot.com/
Nov 4 Erica The Book Cellar http://thebookcellarx.blogspot.com
Nov 6 Sarah Sarah’s Random Musings http://sarahbear9789.blogspot.com/
Nov 9 Faye Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm http://fayeflamereviews.blogspot.com
Nov 10 Melaine Melaine’s Musings http://melanies–musings.blogspot.com
Nov 11 Hope Hope’s Book Shelf http://www.princess2293.blogspot.com
Read this book it is very influential!!!!!
Book Tour Info
This tour was hosted by the wonderful!!!! Jo Ann Hernandez at BronzeWord Latino Authors http://authorslatino.com/wordpress organizes YA Book Tours for authors. If you are interested in having a tour or being a blog host contact her at BronzeWord1 AT yahoo com