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Red Midnight

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  400 ratings  ·  73 reviews
The award-winning author of Touching Spirit Bear delivers a fast-paced adventure of a Guatemalan boy who, along with his little sister, makes an escape to America in a heart-pounding voyage in a dangerously small kayak.
Hardcover, 212 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Perfection Learning (first published April 26th 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 634)
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Yes, the language is stiff and deliberately "foreign" at times. The same is true of "Tree Girl", an even more powerful story of what the people of Central America endured, and continue to endure. In spite of this flaw, this is a really important book. Many of us in the U.S. do not know what was done in our name in Central America, nor what the people trapped at our borders may be fleeing from. Through the eyes of 12-year-old Santiago, we see. When his entire village is massacred, he manages to e ...more
Lorraine Montgomery
Red Midnight by Ben Mikaelsen is based on many true stories of courage and hope that came out of Guatemala in the 1980s. It tells of the bravery of a young boy who escapes his village as the soldiers come to burn it to the ground and brutally murder all of the men, women, and children (the indígenos) of the village. The killings took place in that order, resulting in terrible emotional and psychological scars for any children who survived. This story is narrated by 12-year-old Santiago Cruz in s ...more
Catherine M
Red Midnight was really good and well written. But, it was so sad, I cried on the first page.
Joanna Panzica
This was an intense book about the struggles a young boy had to face after his home was destroyed and his entire family besides him and his little sister killed by guerrilla soldiers. The main character had to leave everything behind a flee to a unfamiliar new country just to stay alive. This book would be suitable for fourth through sixth grade. It can be connected to teaching about other cultures and the struggles people from other countries have to deal with. Can also connect to teaching abo ...more
Chad Poker
The book that I read this quarter was "Red Midnight" by Ben Mikaelsen and it was an extremely good book. This book was about a boy named Santiago and how his village in Guatemala was swept through by the guerillas soldiers who killed everyone and burned the whole village. Santiago and his younger sister made it out alive but before they escaped the village they came across their Uncle Ramos who says "Take the cayuco (kayak) and sail to the United States of America." Santiago and Angelina his si ...more
Jacobie D
I am a teenage refugee named, Santiago. The soldiers killed my family. Now it leaves me and my younger sister, Angelina. I am forced to run away from my country. I must sail across the ocean to get away from Guatemala as quick as possible. It is just my sister and I alone in a small cayuco with very little food. In order for help, I have to go to the U.S. Will they make it to the U.S?

This was a good book, but it might be difficult for some children under the age of 13. The reason for that, is
Santiago is running for his life. After witnessing his family and friends did in horror, he is forced to run away to america. This historical survival story Highlights the cruelty of men, a boy's will to survive. I loved every single part of this book. It was informational, interesting, and had a very good plot. I would suggest this book to young adults like me who enjoy reading about history.
Mrs. Pauly
If you want to know how good we have it in the United States, read Red Midnight. Set almost 30 years ago in Guatemala, the book starts off with soldiers attacking a small village killing everyone in site. Although most of his family is killed in the attack, Santiago, age 12, and his four-year-old sister, Angelina, manage to escape. His Uncle Pedro's last words told Santiago to travel to his uncle's village to get his kayak to sail to the United States of America and tell them of the horrors he h ...more
This story contains some intense imagery and thematic elements when the story begins, I recommend anyone reading this novel be at least 15 years old to better understand the reasons behind the violence and the connection it makes to youth. Based in Guatemala, the main characters Santiago and Angelina (his 4 year old little sister) are forced out of their home and sent off on a small boat to sail to the United States of America. What lies ahead wrenches your heart to imagine 1 youth and 1 child a ...more
Karen Ball
Guerrilla soldiers destroy Santiago's Guatemalan village and murder most of his family. Santiago and his four-year-old sister Angelina escape, running for their lives. But the only way they can be truly safe is to leave Guatemala behind forever. Santiago and Angelina follow the directions of their dying uncle Ramos and make their way to Lake Izabal, where they find his sea kayak he built while planning his own escape . The two children sail north towards America, facing the shark-infested open w ...more
"Maybe staying alive is a game that all people play. Maybe it is the only game that anybody really knows. Even now when death sits beside me in the cayuco, I pretend to play the game one last time."

A tragic and hopeful story of survival
Josh K
The book was very entertaining and filled with cool had a lot of detail.I wish the book was is about these two people and soldiers ruined there camp the soldiers will kill them.So they have to sail to America to get away from the is a 12 year old boy and his younger one is there to help them.
Between the unappealing cover and the less-than-exciting synopsis on the backcover, I was not enthused to read this book. However, I sure am glad that I dove into it. In about 30 pages, I became completely immersed in the storyline. The main factor is the author/narrator's voice. His descriptions of the intense situation juxtaposed with his personal reflections/feelings creates a sympathetic narrative. The short, often simple sentences and quick chapters counterbalance the long, obviously boring ...more
Nov 14, 2007 Tracy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: G.5-MS readers & anyone interested in sailing
Finally finished my overdue library book last night! I must admit that I skipped over a good deal of the boy-versus-sea sections toward the end, but this book nicely illustrates the outstanding courage of a young boy who has escaped, by sea in a canoe, guerilla-torn Guatemala. The story features his innate survival skills and his unaltering dedication to his younger sister. Because the book is written through the perspective of our young hero, information about the guerilla movement is limited. ...more
Elisha David
I thought this book was well written,and I enjoyed it. I admire the plot line of this story and would recommend it.
Sandra Strange
Aimed at junior high, but good for reluctant senior high readers. Set in war-torn 1981 Guatemala, this novel traces the journey of twelve year old Santiago as he and his four year old sister escape marauding guerrilla soldiers who destroy their village and their family. Soldiers, sharks, hunger, disease and raging heat and storms provide heart rending adventure. This novel isn’t as easy to take as Spirit Bear, but is ultimately positive and gives students a good look at what it is like to live i ...more
Lizbeth S
The book, Red Midnight by Ben Mikaelsen, depicts in vivid detail the life of a small village in Guatemala.One night guerrilla solders strike the village and kill everyone there except for Santiago a 12 year old boy and his 4 year old sister Angelina.They have to now travel to the U.S and tell everyone there about what has happened to his village.......Read to find out what happens on there journey to the U.S......will they survive?

This book entertains the reader with its suspense wiil they mak
Laura Salas
Listened to this powerful novel on CD. Santiago and his little sister Angelina escape from Guatemala after their entire village is slaughtered by soldiers (in the 1980s). They try to sail all the way to the U.S. in a small sailing kayuko. Santiago's only 12, and he's terrified and devastated, but he holds it together for the sake of his sister. Turns it into kind of a game, a la the film Life Is Beautiful.

The opening chapters have some brutal violence in them, but this is an exciting, heartbrea
Suspenseful story of 12 yr old Santiago, a poor farmer's son in Guatemala who must escape his village when soldiers attack and kill everyone, including all of his family except his 4 yr old sister Angelina. Santiago follows his uncle's dream and sails a cayuco (kayak with a sail) into the Gulf of Mexico, past military guards, trying to make it all the way to the US coast and hopefully freedom. Santiago is not a sailor, however, and the seas are rough for such a little craft--and he has no papers ...more
Maggie Blanco
I loved it! It was sad at some parts but I really enjoyed it.
Escaping with their lives, a Mayan boy and his little sister head up the coast from Guatemala toward the Yucatán and across the Gulf to Florida in a dugout canoe. Sun, storms, and a continually dwindling food supply threaten them for three weeks, but what haunts them is the memory of violence and loss that drove them from their village. The boy narrates in sparse prose as he struggles to protect his sister and keep her smiling--and breathing.

Simple language, harsh reality. Strength, endurance, i
Jesus Araujo
In this suspenseful survival story of a 12 year old Guatemalan boy and his 4 year old sister escape their burning home, where soldiers have killed their family and people they know, and try to find a way to get to the US.The book takes place on water, fighting storms, evading pirates, and fishing with a homemade hook. Santiago learns as he goes, after only one day’s sail.The boy tries to keep Angelina’s spirits up despite near starvation and constant danger. Great book that keeps you asking for ...more
Annalee Schnebele
If you liked Touching Spirit Bear, then you will like this book. I had a difficult time connecting with the characters and thought way too much time was spent on the bowel movements of the children. Maybe I really just don't like survival/adventure stories.

I appreciated the subject matter in the book - a young teen witnesses his family massacred and has to take his young sister on a small boat to the United States - as more people need to be aware of the issues causing people to immigrate to th
i finished reading this book during the summer, and is been one of my favorite books so far and its about a little boy that lived in guatemala and the guerrilleros killed his family and burned his house. the little boy and his sister take off to go to the usa because its tio ramos helped them out before he died and the do get to the united states and they end up having a great life over there with out no guerrilleros. so i do encourage you to read this book bcuz is one of the best ones so far
This was a gripping if somewhat simple book. I think that anyone 10 and up could read it, provided they have the maturity to deal with death and danger. The book handles the topics in a matter of fact manner, never playing up the horrors - it's well done.

Because it is written with simple sentences - probably to convey that the narrator is from another language and/or that he is unwordly - I'm not certain that it will be right for our teen book club. I'll have to think about it.
A great survival story that will appeal to teen readers who enjoy books of this ilk. Santiago and his younger sister Angelina are orphaned when Guatemalan guerrilla soldiers burn down their village and murder their family. They escape to Florida by sailing a kayak across the ocean for twenty-something days. I found the tale gripping and absorbing. I especially loved how Santiago cared for his little sister in so many imaginative ways. A fun read.
Jozef D
It is about a brother and a sister refuge that are forced to leave their home and go to the United States. They will have a tough time finding their way. Do you think they will make it? Read and find out.

What i like about the book is that the book is quite funny. I say that because they do funny things.

I think this book is for people that like adventure. Traveling to the U.S. fighting the tough times.
Oct 03, 2007 Audra marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This is at the top of my to-read stack now, because my daughter (who's not a reader) stayed up last night past her bedtime because she couldn't put it down. This is a kid who is still discovering the joys of the printed word and who still judges a book's quality based on how many pages she has to read. Last night she read 48 pages. This is an achievement for her - and it must be a testament to this writer's skill.
Cole C
My family has been killed by the soldiers and me and my sister, Angelina have been on our own to go to the U.S from Guatemala and get away with hypothermia, infection, and dry skin. Will they make it?
After makng it to the U.S they make it through hospital and Santiago understands how easy the U.S just might be.

I'd recommend this to young adults and high level high schoolers. So this is my reveiw.
So far it's pretty good, the book had you from the very first sentence. I was in the library and someone suggested it to me,and I was like no way it's not something I'd ever read, but it's good. Really good. Like really really good. It has such vivid imagery, you can imagine the pain in the character's voices and there's also a lot( not really a lot) of irony, you're always on your toes.
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