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*Starred Review* In 1906, 14-year-old Mateo, who is desperate to leave his Cuban home, lies about his age to secure a job digging the Panama Canal. After arriving in Panama, he soon discovers that the "land of many butterflies" is also the land of rain, mud, and rock. Instead of becoming a digger—the job of his new friend, a Jamaican named Henry—Mateo finds work as a train-track mover. Both jobs are dangerous (more than 5,600 lives were lost in creating the canal), backbreaking, and hellish. Mateo's life becomes better when, first, he meets a local girl, Anita, with whom he falls in love, and, second, when he becomes a part-time assistant to mapmaker and artist Augusto, who teaches him how to sketch. Engle tells her stirring story in multiple voices, including President Theodore Roosevelt and even the fauna and flora of the jungle. And she vividly presents her Panamanian setting and the often cruel context of the canal's construction and its system of segregation that separated dark-skinned islanders and olive-skinned southern Europeans from Americans and northern Europeans. The former were paid in silver (hence the title), and the latter, in gold. Engle's extraordinary book is a tour de force of verisimilitude and beautifully realised verse that brings to empathetic life the silver people, especially her wonderful characters Mateo, Anita, Henry, and Augusto. A superb book for both independent reading and classroom use. Grades 7-12. --Michael Cart

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Reviews

Winner of the 2015 Americas 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 " Winner of the 2015 Americas 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 Winner of the 2015 Americas 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 " Winner of the 2015 Americas Award * "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 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 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"

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