After all the hustle and bustle from the conference yesterday, it was lovely to relax this morning and take time to read. We head out shortly to meet the newlyweds for a late lunch and then go to church to watch the resident of the back bedroom receive Confirmation. All in all, a good weekend.
GRINGOLANDIA is the story of Daniel, a teen whose family fled to the US after his father was arrested in Chile. Daniel's father has spent many years in prison being tortured by the Pinochet government. He is finally released to rejoin his family in the US, but he is a changed man. Daniel does not know quite how to deal with his father and the recurring nightmares that jolt the family awake at night. But Daniel's girlfriend, Courtney, a young woman Daniel's father refers to as "la gringa" gets him to tell the story of his imprisonment. With her assistance, these stories appear as published articles in small newspapers.
There is precious little available for YA on this historical period (yes, I know, but it is history to teens) and the writing is immediate. Miller-Lachmann draws readers into the story by making them care about young Daniel who witnesses the brutality of the soldiers who break into his home at night and take his father away. By focusing on the reactions of Daniel and his sister and Courtney, the book becomes more than a history lesson. Given some of the dictatorships still present in the world, teachers and librarians should consider this a book to bring to the attention of readers through booktalks.