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*Libertad* by Alma Fullerton - middle grades book review
Libertad
by Alma Fullerton
Ages 10-15 224 pages Fitzhenry and Whiteside September 2008 Paperback    

Libertadís name means freedom, but Libertad is anything but free.

Living in Guatemala City at the garbage dump with his mother and younger brotherm Julio, he struggles every day to survive. His home is not made of brick or stone but cardboard or tin. As with many fathers in impoverished nations, Libertadís father left them to go the United States to try to find a better way of life for his family.

After the death of their mother, Libertad knows that he and his brother must strike out on their own to get to the States and find their father. All he has is an address from his mother for the last place where his father worked.

As Libertad tries to take on the responsibility of father and mother to his younger brother, they encounter many who will try to help and many who will only try to take advantage of the young boys. Along the way, the reader will learn what it is like to be an orphaned young boy traveling in unsafe territories with no support system. For the reader, it is an emotional journey but an enlightening one as well.

The information given by the author about Safe Passage, a Guatemalan program that provides children a way to go to school, adds to the reality of this story. The author has based this free-verse story on the real-life experiences of many children, and one boy in particular.
 
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