After reading so many MG books recently with a 300-400 page length, it was nice to finally come across one with a more traditional page count. Yes, many kids read anything and devour books like candy. Then there are the others. More than half the young readers I come across reach for the books with a less bulky appearance.
Mañanaland is one they will pick up and read cover to cover. The story is special and you can’t help but get wrapped up in 12-year-old Max Cordoba’s tender but impactful voice. Set in fictional Santa Maria, the place will remind you of several South American countries where citizens must flea to obtain a better life.
Max loves to play fútbol (soccer), trade stories with his Buelo (Grandpa), and hang out with friends. Papa won’t tell him what happened to his mother who left when Max was an infant. He also has no birth certificate and may not get to play his beloved sport unless his age can be verified. When Papa goes to another city to hopefully have the problem taken care of, Max’s curiosity takes over and after a series of events finds himself accompanying a young girl to help her reconnect with an older sister and find freedom. Deep down Max hopes he can also find his mother.
Possibilities for discussion and contrasting the situation to one’s own culture are numerous. Mañanaland is a heartfelt coming of age story like none other.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Maximiliano Córdoba loves stories, especially the legend Buelo tells him about a mythical gatekeeper who can guide brave travelers on a journey into tomorrow.
If Max could see tomorrow, he would know if he’d make Santa Maria’s celebrated fútbol team and whether he’d ever meet his mother, who disappeared when he was a baby. He longs to know more about her, but Papá won’t talk. So when Max uncovers a buried family secret–involving an underground network of guardians who lead people fleeing a neighboring country to safety–he decides to seek answers on his own.
With a treasured compass, a mysterious stone rubbing, and Buelo’s legend as his only guides, he sets out on a perilous quest to discover if he is true of heart and what the future holds.
This timeless tale of struggle, hope, and the search for tomorrow has much to offer today about compassion and our shared humanity.
BOOK BIRTHDAY: March 3, 2020 PAGE COUNT: 256
FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT Mañanaland. by Pam Muñoz Ryan
- Max keeps a compass around his neck that his mother left behind. What he eventually does with the compass shows how much heart this boy really has.
- Max’s beloved dog has some surprises of her own.
- The realistic setting is enhanced when Spanish is spoken. Not to worry for those of us a little rusty after three years of High School Spanish, the English meaning is woven into the scene in a very subtle way.
- The plight of refugee immigrants is given a deeper understanding and one which all of us deserve to know.
- Family, Love. Friendship.
A FEW INSIGHTS FROM THE AUTHOR
Today, I cannot imagine not writing. But I have a very practical approach to it. It is my job. One that I love. I want to deliver, for my publisher, for my reader, and for myself. People frequently ask me, “What is your motivation to write?” The answer is simple. I want the reader to turn the page. (For more visit Pam’s Author Web Site)
Please leave a comment below.