Sunday, May 3, 2009

Diego, run! by Deborah Ellis

Some books just read like movies. I have no idea how an author does this but I have just finished Diego, run! by Deborah Ellis and I feel like I have watched an incredibly gripping movie with chase scenes, jungles, crime, poverty, gaols and guns all set in exotic Boliva. This is not a book for young Primary children, I would only recommend it to Year 6, as it does deal with illegal drugs and the criminals who make them. For fans of Robert Muchamore, this thriller will certainly be another winner.

Diego, aged 12, lives in a prison with his mother and sister, he is free to come and go but his mother has thirteen years still to serve for a crime she did not commit. Diego helps his family by working as a ‘human taxi’ doing small errands for the gaol inmates but disaster strikes when his sister wanders away from his care which is totally against the rules of the gaol. Diego is lured away by his friend Mando on a promise of easy money, made quickly. Diego is suspicious but also desperate to help his mother, so he finds himself caught up in the illegal manufacture of cocaine with vicious criminals deep in the Bolivian jungle.

There is an excellent authors note at the end of this book along with a glossary of Spanish terms. Children might not notice this extra information but I would encourage parents to read this book and then talk about the author note which puts illegal drugs into a context.

Look for other books by Canadian author Deborah Ellis in your library. I enjoyed all of them – Parvana, The Heaven Shop and Looking for X although I would add all are for Senior Primary only. Now I need to start the sequel Diego’s Pride.

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