Review Blog

Mar 25 2008

Diego's pride by Deborah Ellis

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Allen and Unwin, 2008 ISBN 978 1 74175 430 8
(Age 11+) Diego has escaped from the cocaine traders in the Bolivian jungle and now must survive. Luckily he is found by a cocalero family, and he helps them harvest their coca crop before taking it to market. But some sell their crop for cocaine, and the USA funds the Bolivian government to destroy the crops, so the police move in and destroy the family crop, pulling up their plants and trashing their farm. Destitute the family joins with others to blockade the bridge on the highway between the major cities, in protest about their loss of income.

Here Diego learns about grass roots activism, helps the families in their plight and narrowly avoids being hurt himself. Through the kindness of a local policeman, he finds his way back to his family in Cochabamba where he is able to help the police track down those who kidnapped him in Diego, run. A wholly satisfying read, Diego's pride will broaden our students' view of the world and how it works, encourage their sympathy for the poor and oppressed, and gain some understanding of the political nature of the cocaine trade.
Fran Knight

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