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I Am a Taxi

Category: Book
By (author): Ellis, Deborah
Series: The Cocalero Novels
Subject:  JUVENILE FICTION / Age 10-14 Canadian
  JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Caribbean & Latin America
  JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse
  JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Violence
Awards: Manitoba Young Reader's Choice Award (2008) Short-listed
OLA Golden Oak Award (2008) Long-listed
Alberta Children's Choice Award (2008) Short-listed
SSLI Honor Book (2007) Commended
SYRCA Snow Willow Award (2007) Long-listed
Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award (2007) Winner
White Ravens (2007) Commended
CCBC Our Choice (Starred Selection) (2007) Commended
CLA Book of the Year for Children Award (2007) Commended
YALSA BBYA (2007) Long-listed
Publisher: House of Anansi/Groundwood Books
Published: September 2006
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 208
Size: 7.45in x 4.97in x 0.56in
Our Price:
$ 9.95
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

Winner of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award

For twelve-year-old Diego and his family, home is a prison in Cochabamba, Bolivia. His parents farmed coca, a traditional Bolivian medicinal plant, until they got caught in the middle of the government's war on drugs and were mistakenly convicted of drug possession.

Diego's parents are locked up, but he can come and go: to school, to the market to sell his mother's handknitted goods, and to work as a "taxi," running errands for other prisoners. But then his little sister temporarily runs off while under his watch, earning his mother a heavy fine. The debt and dawning realization of his hopeless situation make him vulnerable to his friend Mando's plan to make big money, fast.

Soon, Diego is deep in the jungle, working as a virtual slave in an illegal cocaine operation. As his situation becomes more and more dangerous, he knows he must take a terrible risk if he ever wants to see his family again.

From The Publisher*

Deep in the jungle, working as a virtual slave in a cocaine operation, twelve-year-old Diego realizes he must take a terrible risk if he ever wants to see his family again.

Review Quote*...because of its unusual setting and subject matter, and Ellis's efforts to explicate complex social, political, and economic issues, this book should find a place in larger collections.
Review Quote*...Ellis exposes her North American readers to the harsh lives being experienced by children and youths who live in developing countries...Highly Recommended.
Review Quote*...the strength of the book lies in the glimpse of a single individual struggling to exist in a society with limited options for escape.
Review Quote*Ellis artfully describes the horrible conditions in the overcrowded prison, the street children who sniff glue, and the backbreaking labor-often performed by children-to make the paste that will eventually become crack cocaine...Readers can look forward to a sequel.
Review Quote*Ellis makes a strong and informative case for protecting and honoring coca as an important medicinal and cash crop for the Bolivian farmers while strongly condemning the cocaine trade; as usual, her case is made with compelling characters and riveting action rather than through didactic intrusions.
Review Quote*Deborah Ellis's latest glimpse into another culture is a valuable addition to her oeuvre.
Review Quote*I Am a Taxi is uncompromisingly gritty and graphic, painting a devastatingly accurate portrait of life for kids (and their parents) in the Third World....a good story, well told, with a compelling plot and fully realized characters, that will captivate readers.
Review Quote*Once again, Deborah Ellis takes us into the harsh realities of a developing country...[The story] is told in a stark, realistic manner and shows a way of life which is almost impossible for most children in Canada to imagine. I Am a Taxi will be enjoyed by male and female readers in the intermediate grades and I'm sure they will enthusiastically await the find out what new adventures await Diego.