Amado, Elisa. Abraham Urias, illustrator. Manuelito: A Graphic Novel. Toronto: Annick Press, 2019.
Young Adult, Graphic Novel
Young Guatemalan Manuelito begins to experience changes in his small mountain village. His school has been closed; soldiers begin roaming the streets; and gangs become more prevalent, causing trouble, taking teen boys into their ranks, and threatening families. Worried about their son's future, Manuelito's parents arrange for him to travel to the United States to live with his aunt in New York.
Manuelito and another boy from the village are sent off with a coyote (human trafficker) known outside the area for his dreadful ways with those he accompanies. Travelling through Guatemala and Mexico, with many hazards and troubles along the way, Manuelito makes it to the United States, but with even more troubles and dangers ahead of him.
The drawings in this book are telling yet stark, as is the text. The illustrations tie in well with story. The simple text works well in telling the story, but it feels too little at times when there needed to be more told for clarification.
After the story, there is information regarding the troubles facing the Northern Triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador), three of the most dangerous peacetime countries, as well as the United States government's involvement. Also included is the introductory note from the United Nations Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.
Review by Cassandra E. Osterloh, Librarian, History and Literary Arts, NHCC
Available at the NHCC Library
YA PZ7.7 .A397 Man 2019