HMH Books for Young Readers, 2014
Source: E-Galley, Library
One hundred years ago, the world celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal, which connected the world’s two largest oceans and signaled America’s emergence as a global superpower. It was a miracle, this path of water where a mountain had stood—and creating a miracle is no easy thing. Thousands lost their lives, and those who survived worked under the harshest conditions for only a few silver coins a day.
From the young "silver people" whose back-breaking labor built the Canal to the denizens of the endangered rainforest itself, this is the story of one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, as only Newbery Honor-winning author Margarita Engle could tell it.
Silver People by Margarita Engle had it all - history, action, injustice and romance. The story moved at a quick pace that kept the reader interested, and the fact that it was written in verse meant that I finished it in about a half hour.
Overall, the building of the Panama Canal was disastrous, and I appreciated that the author didn’t sugar coat the situation. The multiple perspectives were fantastic and made the book all the more powerful. My favorite part of the book was when poems were written in the voices of nature and animals. It showed that Engle was truly looking at the experience as a whole, and truly good writing includes everything.