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Sacred Leaf: The Cocalero Novels (Cocalero Novels #2)

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  175 ratings  ·  24 reviews
The people of Bolivia have grown coca for legitimate purposes for hundreds of years, but the demands of America's War on Drugs now threaten this way of life. Deborah Ellis's searing follow-up to the highly praised I Am a Taxi deals with this frank reality.

After he manages to escape from virtual enslavement in an illegal cocaine operation, Diego is taken in by the Ricardo f
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published October 28th 2007 by Groundwood Books (first published September 1st 2007)
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Maggie V
Although it was a tough topic (farmers striking and blockading bridges to raise coca, not as cocaine but as tea, and being forced by American money to not grow their crops), I never really rooted for them. The writing and the language was too general for me to feel that it was happening in Bolivia. I was connected to the general theme, but not the characters.

I don't know if I would recommend it because it was so general. If someone was interested in this topic, then maybe, but not to everyone.
Aug 14, 2008 Trisha rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 6-8 grade
A revealing look at the effects of the "war on drugs" on a culture that has harvested the coca plant throughout history, and now facing govermental interventions that redefine what will no longer be allowable in order to earn a living. A thought-provoking read for a middle-school audience to discover what lies on the other side of this major U.S. issue.
This book presents the different sides of the drug war in Bolivia, and the effect on the children in that country. Coca is grown in Bolivia for tea and for medicine for high altitude, and is considered to be a sacred plant by the native people. It can also be mixed with chemicals to make cocaine. The army in Bolivia was pulling up the crops grown by the coca farmers, the cocaleros, in conjunction with the American war on drugs. It left the farmers with no income and no food.

Diego, whose parents
Jul 01, 2009 Anna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: middle and high school students
Deborah Ellis got her groove back with this book! WOW! Sacred Leaf picks up right where I Am a Taxi left off but the prose is MUCH more interesting and engaging this time around. Diego has matured a lot and I found him to be so much more likable in this novel. This book reminded me a lot of The Breadwinner and I thought Ellis did a great job of communicating to the reader the situation in Bolivia. She talked about the drug trade and how the U.S. actually fuels a lot of the problems with our horr ...more
This series, The Cocalero Novels, introduced me to several problems that I had been unaware of: children growing up in prisons, cocaine production, and the Bolivian revolution.

I think some of my students would be interested in these topics. I'm just worried about the kids who would be most interested in how to fight the military/police and Molotov cocktails.

I rather liked the ending.
Mar 20, 2008 Kellyn rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 6th grade and above
Deborah Ellis is a brave, clear-sighted writer who does not shrink from difficult topics. In this sequel to I Am a Taxi Ellis continues the story of Diego and his family. After escaping from the cocaine operation Diego stumbles into a small village where the Ricardo family take him into their home. Soon however the village's fields are destroyed by the army. Villagers join together to blockade road in order to prevent the army from continuing the destruction of their livlihood.

By focusing on th
Apoorv Londhe
Great Book ! It tells you about the problems of the farmers of bolivia who grow KOKE crop in their farms . Another good book from Deborra Ellis ! The situation of farmers as well as the small children is very well described !!
I liked this book, but thought the first book was better. This book didn't have as much adventure. I think the author should have told what happened to Diego when he returned home to his parents.
Cleo the Colourful
i liked but not as much as I am taxi because I am a taxi moves more. In Sacred leaf you just stay on a bridge and a village. In I am a taxi you move to lots of different places.
This is the second book in a series I am reading. In this book Diego is now staying with the Ricardo family and all of their cocoa leaves have been taken away by the Army. The Army is trying to avoid the production of cocaine, and the Ricardo family is just trying to survive. The taking of the cocoa leaves results in a blockade of people in the village. The Captain of the Army only wants to help Diego return to his family, which in the end of the book he does. Before the book ends, Diego and the ...more
I thought that this novel was a good conclusion to I Am A Taxi. I liked the Captain, and thought that he was written well. He was one of mu favourite characters because even though he was supposed to be the cocalero's blockade on the bridge, he didn't want to injure his fellow Bolivians. I thought that Deborah Ellis had good character development. Diego's friends all had a personality that went well with the story line. Juanita is the tough girl that doesn't like Diego, and I think that helps th ...more
( 1 )i wanted to read this book because my mum said it was a great book and i would love it

( 2 )on the bingo board it fill the box "a book that teaches you about a culture other than your own

( 3 )one of my fav parts is when he escapes from the camp it's my fav part because i is exciting and nerve racking

( 4 ) i lernt that i am lucky too have the life i have and don't take any thing for granted

( 5 ) i liked diego because he is the main person in the book and he is happy even when he is in a bad
Not as good as the first book, "I am a Taxi." This one is less exciting and more mature. The subject matter is probably a little higher than the reading level. There is a lot more information about politics and resistance of the coca growers. This book is also a historical fiction, following Diego as he participates in specific events in Bolivian history. It is still a good book and would be a valuable teaching tool for upper middle school to learn about peasant resistance. A very fast read.
May 25, 2012 Cris added it
I think that this is a great book. it is also a very sad book because it has a lot of things like war people against the government. They want their stuff back. That's how they make a living and the government is trying to take the cocao leaves away from them.
Aug 14, 2012 Rebecca rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
This was the second part of "I am a taxi" and while it was a good story about the Cochabamba, Bolivia water war, it wasn't as powerful as the first book. Still, since there are so few YA books set in Bolivia, it's worth reading!
The sequel to "Diego, Run!" as the impoverished peoples of an impoverished country, seek to gain control of their own lives and destiny, their own country and it's resources.
What I have learned so far is that coca is a great plant for medicine as tea in Bolivia,but when it's natruel.
didactic and inauthentic dialogue, but a great introduction to the issues of drug trade for elementary/jr high
i didnt enjoy this book, it wasnt as good as i am a taxi because it was less exciting.
May 04, 2012 Ryan added it
2nd book after i am a taxi the should make a third book the story eneded to early
This book was okay, but not as thrilling as the first book (I am a Taxi).
Sad lives. and i am hugely unaware of life in other countries.
Great book about Bolivia without being too depressing.
I found this book a bit simplistic and preachy.
Rose marked it as to-read
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Deborah Ellis has achieved international acclaim with her courageous and dramatic books that give Western readers a glimpse into the plight of children in developing countries.

She has won the Governor General's Award, Sweden's Peter Pan Prize, the Ruth Schwartz Award, the University of California's Middle East Book Award, the Jane Addams Children's Book Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award.

A long-t
More about Deborah Ellis...

Other Books in the Series

Cocalero Novels (2 books)
  • I Am a Taxi

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