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Annotation: Newbery Honoree Pam Muñoz Ryan weaves an entrancing tale of courage and self-discovery. "Uniquely magical...Timely and t... more
Catalog Number: #194319
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 256
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-338-15786-8 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-6076-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-338-15786-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-6076-8
Dewey: Fic
Language: English
Publishers Weekly
Set in the fictional Latin country of Santa Maria, this richly tiered novel is, at its core, wrenchingly real. Maximiliano Córdoba, almost 12, often wonders -about big and bewildering things,- principally why his mother disappeared when he was a baby, but Max-s somber Papá refuses to answer any questions. Newbery Honoree Ryan (Echo) infuses the soccer-loving boy-s story with mystery based on local myth, closely guarded secrets, and a missing birth certificate. As the boy walks with his solitary Papá, ironically a builder of bridges in their small town, a peregrine falcon appears; legend has it that the falcon annually brings -the ghosts of the hidden ones--refugees who fled a neighboring country-s cruelties with the help of -guardians- who shepherded them to safety through local ruins. The author interlaces this lore with the intricate story of how Max-s family played a key role in the real-life drama, and how the boy bravely steps in to carry on that legacy. Lyrical allusions to the heartbreaking reality of life under repressive regimes and Max-s belief in the promise of tomorrow fuse the title and plot of this compelling novel, which ends on a reassuring note. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 36 Eleven-year-old Maximiliano Córdoba lives in Santa Maria village with his father's extended family of stone masons. On the mundane level, he wants to join a fútbol clinic with his friend Chuy, but an abandoned stone towerLa Reina Gigantemakes him wonder about hidden refugees fleeing the neighboring country of Abismo. While Max's father is away, Max encounters a refugee, Isadora, and learns his family are secretly guardians who help people flee to safety. In his father's absence, Max determines to guide Isadora to the next stop with all the dangers that entails, partly to discover information about his long-absent mother. As always, Ryan's strength is in her visually expressive language. Readers can picture the village, the personified tower, and Max's journey through rough country. Poignant, memorable moments are created with just a few sentences. On the other hand, the novel is slow to start. Additionally, the imaginary country construct vies with specific details found in real life such as Catholic churches, fútbol, and a Portuguese water dog. The first half of the novel is an uneasy detente of this paradox. However, as Max and Isadora set out, the imminent danger and their growing friendship will pull readers fully into this world and make Ryan's story feel solid. VERDICT A gem of a story with timely messages whose main audience is educators and contemplative children. Nevertheless, a required purchase. Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* In a small town located "somewhere in the Américas," eleven-year-old Max has been raised by his no-nonsense father and head-in-the-clouds grandfather, ever since his mother disappeared when he was a baby. Longing to find her, the fútbol-loving protagonist uncovers secrets about his family's past and embarks on a dangerous mission to help a refugee from a dictator-led neighboring country find her way to Mañanaland. The two traverse rocky terrain, hide from those looking to collect a reward for the missing refugee, and follow the map that Max learned through his grandfather's nightly bedtime story. In her first book since the Newbery Honor winning Echo (2015), Muñoz Ryan crafts a lyrical, fablelike tale of love, loss, community, and standing up for what is right. The novel is told with evocative and dreamlike writing and features authentic characters who tug at the heartstrings. As the impeccable pacing keeps readers guessing, the timely story line will resonate, especially bringing to mind the plight of young people who have to travel long distances in unfamiliar lands to find safety. This story, infused with magic, reminds children that humanity thrives when people embrace differences and construct bridges instead of borders. Another unforgettable work from a master storyteller.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
School Library Journal (2/1/20)
Starred Review ALA Booklist (1/1/20)
Publishers Weekly
Reading Level: 3.0
Interest Level: 3-6

Newbery Honoree Pam Muñoz Ryan weaves an entrancing tale of courage and self-discovery.

"Uniquely magical...Timely and timeless." -- New York Times

* "This tightly packed, powerful fantasy contains resonant truths." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "Another unforgettable work from a master storyteller." -- Booklist, starred review

* "Richly tiered... wrenchingly real...compelling." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A gem of a story with timely messages." -- School Library Journal

"A luminous embodiment of hope." -- Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery Honor-winning author of One Crazy Summer and Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

"Mañanaland is that rare gift of a book." -- Francisco X. Stork, award-winning author of Disappeared

Maximiliano Córdoba loves stories, especially the legend Buelo tells him about a mythical gatekeeper who can guide brave travelers on a journey into tomorrow.

If Max could see tomorrow, he would know if he'd make Santa Maria's celebrated fútbol team and whether he'd ever meet his mother, who disappeared when he was a baby. He longs to know more about her, but Papá won't talk. So when Max uncovers a buried family secret--involving an underground network of guardians who lead people fleeing a neighboring country to safety--he decides to seek answers on his own.

With a treasured compass, a mysterious stone rubbing, and Buelo's legend as his only guides, he sets out on a perilous quest to discover if he is true of heart and what the future holds.

This timeless tale of struggle, hope, and the search for tomorrow has much to offer today about compassion and our shared humanity.

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