Synopses & Reviews
In 1914, the world celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal, which connected the world’s two largest oceans and signaled America’s emergence as a global superpower. It was a miracle, this path of water where a mountain had stood—and creating a miracle is no easy thing. Thousands lost their lives, and those who survived worked under the harshest conditions for only a few silver coins a day.
From the young "silver people" whose back-breaking labor built the Canal to the denizens of the endangered rainforest itself, this is the story of one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, as only Newbery Honor-winning author Margarita Engle could tell it.
Winner of the 2015 Américas Award
A Jane Addams Award Honor Book
Green Earth Book Awards Honor Book
* "A masterful command of language and space. . . Engle blends the voices of her fictional characters, historical figures, and even the forest into a dynamic coming-of-age story not only of young adults but also of a blustering and arrogant United States."
—VOYA, 5Q 5P M J S
* "Engle's extraordinary book is a tour de force of verisimilitude and beautifully realized verse that brings to empathetic life the silver people."
—Booklist, starred review
"As always, Engle's poetry captures with sympathetic wonder and delicate beauty the plight of these disenfranchised voices; here in particular she highlights the natural beauty and love that Mateo, Anita, and Henry find and cling to in the midst of their back- and heart-breaking labor."
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"In melodic verses, Engle offers the voices of three [Panama Canal] workers. . . . Taken together, they provide an illuminating picture of the ecological sacrifices and human costs behind a historical feat generally depicted as a triumph."
—Horn Book Magazine
"This richly developed novel is an excellent addition to any collection. In this compelling story, Engle paints a picture of an often [over]-looked area and highlights the struggles of the people and the arrogance of the Americans."
—School Library Journal
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Bank Street College Best Children’s Books of the Year
An NCTE Notable Book in the English Language Arts
ALSC Notable Books in the Social Sciences
CCBC Choice Fiction for Young Adults
CCBC Global Reading list
Best Multicultural Books, Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature
Newbery Honor winner Margarita Engle tells the story of the creation of the Panama Canal in this powerful YA historical novel in verse.