Book Talk: The Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar
“Lyrical...The characters leap to life and eloquently evoke the passion and pain of a girl's coming-of-age. Absolutely beautiful, reverent, and intensely personal, the book would make a valued gift for pre-teen readers, especially a young Latina.”
―School Library Connection
About the Book
Nine-year-old Betita knows she is a crane. Papi has told her the story, even before her family fled to Los Angeles to seek refuge from cartel wars in Mexico. The Aztecs came from a place called Aztlan, what is now the Southwest US, called the land of the cranes. They left Aztlan to establish their great city in the center of the universe-Tenochtitlan, modern-day Mexico City. It was prophesized that their people would one day return to live among the cranes in their promised land. Papi tells Betita that they are cranes that have come home.
Then one day, Betita's beloved father is arrested by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) and deported to Mexico. Betita and her pregnant mother are left behind on their own, but soon they too are detained and must learn to survive in a family detention camp outside of Los Angeles.
Even in cruel and inhumane conditions, Betita finds heart in her own poetry and in the community she and her mother find in the camp. The voices of her fellow asylum seekers fly above the hatred keeping them caged, but each day threatens to tear them down lower than they ever thought they could be.
Will Betita and her family ever be whole again?
Reviews & What Readers Say
“ Aida Salazar has reached deep into our indigenous past to explore in beautiful, poignant poetry what it means to become a woman at the intersection of community and self. Rooted in ancestral lore yet vibrantly modern, The Moon Within is a touching, powerful, and important novel in verse.”
―David Bowles, Pura Belpré Honor-winning author of The Smoking Mirror
“ This story is told in beautiful poems... A lovely, relatable story...The words really use up the space on the pages in creative ways, and the author reveals cultural aspects of Latinx (especially Xicana) and Caribbean peoples in rich detail."
“ A worthy successor to Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret set in present-day Oakland... Salazar's verse novel is sensitive and fresh... An authentically middle school voice and diverse Latinx cast make this book a standout."
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Aida Salazar is an award-winning author and arts activist whose writings for adults and children explore issues of identity and social justice. She is the author of the middle grade verse novels, The Moon Within (International Latino Book Award Winner), Land of the Cranes, and the biography picture book Jovita Wore Pants: The Story of a Revolutionary Fighter. She is slated to co-edit with Yamile Saied Méndez, Calling the Moon, a middle grade anthology on menstruation by writers of color.
She is a founding member of Las Musas, a Latinx kidlit debut author collective. Her short story, "By the Light of the Moon", was adapted into a ballet production by the Sonoma Conservatory of Dance and is the first Xicana-themed ballet in history. She lives with her family of artists in a teal house in Oakland, CA.