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A Graphic Novel

by Elisa Amado
illustrated by Abraham Urias

Best Books for Kids & Teens, *starred selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre

The powerful story of a child refugee seeking asylum in America

Thirteen-year-old Manuelito is a gentle boy who lives with his family in a tiny village in the Guatemalan countryside. But life is far from idyllic: PACs—armed civil patrol—are a constant presence in the streets, and terrifying memories of the country’s war linger in the villagers’ collective conscience. When cartel backed gangs arrive and take control of the village, Manuelito’s parents make the desperate decision to send him to live with his aunt in the United States.

With just a bus ticket and a small amount of cash, Manuelito begins his hazardous journey to Mexico, then the U.S., in search of asylum. Dangers lurk everywhere, even once he finally reaches the United States.

Drawing on years of experience working with child refugees like Manuelito, Elisa Amado’s powerful and timely story, illustrated with striking poignancy by Abraham Urias, brings to light the dire circumstances of so many children, so close to home.


“Compelling and powerful.”
—CM Reviews, 01/18/19

“An eye-opening, moving, and timely read.”
—School Library Journal, 02/19

“A blunt, effective record of the refugee crisis that’s wounding the Americas.”
—Kirkus Reviews, 01/14/19

“Gripping and all too authentic . . . The book will raise questions, making it a great discussion starter for a class studying current issues.”
—School Library Connection, 05/19

“A powerful and edgy graphic novel that explores the refugee crisis in a way that makes it accessible to younger readers.”
—Globe and Mail, 05/07/19

“Guatemala-born Amado’s text is spare, direct, and emotional—communicating the anxiety and desperation that the characters feel, especially once their hopes for safety in the U.S. are dashed.”
—Quill & Quire, 03/19

“Neither author nor artist holds back in presenting the life-and-death scenarios unrelentingly happening now.”
—Booklist, 06/19

“Paints a searing picture.”
—Youth Services Book Review, 12/13/18

“A necessary and powerful read.”
—Reading Maria, 03/01/19


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Elisa Amado

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Abraham Urias