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Red Midnight Kindle Edition
When guerrilla soldiers strike Santiago's village, they destroy everything in their path -- including his home and family. Santiago and his four-year-old sister escape, running for their lives. But the only way they can be truly safe is to leave Guatemala behind forever. So Santiago and Angelina set sail in a sea kayak their Uncle Ramos built while dreaming of his own escape. Sailing through narrow channels guarded by soldiers, shark-infested waters, and days of painful heat and raging storms, Santiago and Angelina face an almost impossible voyage hundreds of miles across the open ocean, heading for the hope of a new life in the United States.
About the Author
Ben Mikaelsen is the winner of the International Reading Association Award and the Western Writers of America Spur Award. His novels have been nominated for and won many state reader's choice awards. These novels include Red Midnight, Rescue Josh McGuire, Sparrow Hawk Red, Stranded, Countdown, Petey, and Tree Girl. Ben's articles and photos appear in numerous magazines around the world. Ben lives near Bozeman, Montana, with his 700-pound black bear, Buffy.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B003F1WM3Y
- Publisher : HarperCollins; Reprint edition (April 2, 2010)
- Publication date : April 2, 2010
- Language : English
- File size : 395 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 232 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0380977451
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #985,260 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Set in rural Guatemala in the 1980s, the first chapter opens with the massacre of an entire village of indigenous people. Our main character/narrator and his 4-year-old sister are the only survivors. While it is realistic to have them escape, I'm not sure how realistic it is to think a 12-year-old and his 4-year-old sister could then sail from Guatemala to Florida. In the author's defense, he uses some flashback scenes to explain the uniqueness of the boat. (The 12-year-old has at least some experience on the boat, and it was actually designed for long-distance ocean sailing, even though it was small.) And as the story unfolds, the author also includes an adult who travels with them for the first day and coaches the 12-year-old in more sailing skills. Still, it's quite a reach to think this would actually happen.
It is difficult to find stories of war refugees that are appropriate for young adolescents. Most attempts either whitewash the suffering (probably to keep it less graphic) or they tell far too many details (probably to be true to actual events). I find both extremes to be problematic. For my classroom, I feel this book has a good balance of the two.
Twenty-seven years ago, I was working with Guatemalan and Salvadoran refugees. I guarantee the author is sparing us from major horrific details in describing the event. In my opinion, the author presents sufficient information about the massacre to help students understand the severity of the situation without the unnecessary sensational details. And while the massacre was by Guatemalan soldiers, there is certainly no glorification of the rebels whose earlier visit to the village probably led to the massacre.
I'm not sure why the entire book - written from the perspective of the 12-year-old boy - is written with no contractions. It sounds rather stilted at times. I don't know 12-year-olds (from the U.S. or from Guatemala) who speak so formally! I found that a bit annoying.
In general, I would not recommend this book for children who are younger than 11 or 12, and would not recommend it for students who are extremely sensitive to accounts of violence. And the fact that this novel is based on actual violent events makes the violent images more upsetting for some readers.
Overall, the story is suspenseful, adventurous, and ends in a hopeful way. Although the U.S. government supported (with training, supplies, and money) the Guatemalan military during this late period of the Cold War, Guatemala has thankfully returned to a more peaceful existence now. In the epilogue, the author states that he hopes future generations can learn from stories like this and not be so quick to support military actions in complicated situations.