Tree Girl

Harper TempestSKU: 0060090065

Ben Mikaelsen
Grade Levels:
Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten
Book Type:
Harper Tempest
Copyright Data:

Sale price$12.50


Tree Girl: A Novel is based on the real-life drama of a QuichÚ Mayan girl who survived the civil war in Guatemala. Gabriela is fourteen when the story opens and her nickname, Tree Girl, suits her well. In QuichÚ, her name is Laj Ali Re Jayub, meaning Tree Girl. She received this name because of her love of climbing trees and how these trees offered a sanctuary for her imagination. On the evening of her fifteenth birthday, her Quincinera, American-trained Guatemalan soldiers attack her village searching for guerillas. On this joyous night Gabriella Flores and her family are brought into this conflict that is not of their choosing. The safety of the tree hides Gabriella from two massacres but the scenes of torture, rape and brutal murder will never leave her memory. With only her youngest sister, Gabi flees into the forest to escape. Gone are the familiar sights and sounds of her family's home as she tries to escape to the safety of a Mexican refugee camp. Gabi had been an excellent student in her small village school but now her education turns to the basic necessities of living and escaping the brutality of war. On the way she loses her last remaining relative as she completes her trek to Mexico. In the refugee camp the life of the Indios (the Indigenous People) is precarious as they have minimal food, water and no shelter. In the camp Gabriella despairs that she will never have hope for a future. Then one day a silent child enters the camp with some fleeing refugees. It is Gabi's sister but this seven-year-old refuses to speak. Gabi gathers strength for herself and her sister and starts a meager school for the children of the camp. This powerful, first-person narrative explores the intensity of personal grief, moral responsibility, and courage in a mater-of-fact presentation that will move readers to seek further understanding of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.

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