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3.60  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  39 reviews
The powerful story of a child refugee seeking asylum in America Thirteen-year-old Manuelito is a gentle boy who lives with his family in a tiny village in the Guatemalan countryside. But life is far from idyllic: PACs--armed civil patrol--are a constant presence in the streets, and terrifying memories of the country's war linger in the villagers' collective conscience. Thi ...more
Hardcover, 104 pages
Published April 9th 2019 by Annick Press
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Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  99 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-netgalley, 2019
The story of a young Guatemalan boy whose family forces him to go with a coyote to America. It was no longer safe in his village due to gangs and even the military kidnapping young boys and forcing them into service. It's interesting to see this side of the immigration debate that we don't often see in the U.S. He's only making the dangerous trip to America because his family doesn't know any other way to keep him safe. He even does the right thing by claiming asylum as soon as he enters the cou ...more
Rod Brown
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
An attempt to humanize the asylum seekers trying to cross the United States' southern border from Central America, this book is well intentioned if not particularly well done. The narration of the young protagonist is just sort of awkward, and the writer and artist sometimes do not seem in sync with their words and images.

Also, I think the intended audience is children, but I'm not sure younger readers will be able to handle the very real, very bleak ending.
The concept of this book had so much potential, but fell flat for me. I love books about immigration and Guatemala. So put them together it seems an obvious win-win. Children asylum seekers are a tough subject that needs to be more widely known about, but I was hoping for more. Also, for me the illustrations being in black and white gave it more of an out of date feel to it. The story would have felt more modern if it was in color, in my opinion.

2019 Popsugar Challenge: Your favorite prompt fro
Carrie Templeton
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Manuelito’s story is an unfortunate reality for so many asylum seekers today. The struggle to get to safety, followed by inhumane treatment upon arriving in the US. A simply told story, but an important one.

I love the scratchy quality of the illustrations in Manuelito, but wish there was less stark juxtaposition between the text and the art.
Jun 19, 2019 rated it liked it
The drawings are artistic but I’m not sure they are clear enough to be compelling. I wish we had more backstory with Manuelito so teens could identify with him.
Kimberly Bower MLIS (gladeslibrarian)
Manuelito tells the story of a young teenager living in Guatemala and the dangers he faces in his community. His parents pay a coyote (human trafficker) to accompany Mauelito from his home in Guatemala to the United States border where he seeks asylum. The story told in graphic novel format details the events that take place during the trip and also after his arrival at his aunt's house in Long Island, New York.

The author places blame on the United States government under Obama and T
Maria Zuppardi
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own, arc
I received a free copy via Annick Press in exchange for an honest review.

This is a novel meant to be made as a statement, and I have a feeling it won’t go unnoticed, especially as lives like Manuelito garner more media attention. For the kids who read this, they will definitely be learning about social justice and what it means to live in fear. The story isn’t graphic, but it’s written in a way so that younger kids can grasp the message and feel compassion for Manuelito and the other
This graphic novel is about a boy and a friend whose family pay a bad coyote to help them get to Guatemalan to the United States. His Country is not safe for young boys who are often led into gangs or killed. This story describes their journey to America and even what happens when they get there.
I really enjoy reading and learning about what going on in our border towns and immigration. I felt like this story lacked some details or description in the writing to get me feeling just a little emot
Erin *MinMex_Reads*
Apr 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you to NetGalley for a free digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.

I would consider this an illustrated chapter book versus a graphic novel. The digital ARC I read had B&W pencil type sketches. I’m not sure how the final print product looks. The story itself is about 13-year-old boy and his journey from Guatemala through Mexico and in to the US. The “voice” of Manuelito is very short sentences and reminds me of how someone writes when English is their second language or some mid
This depressing story is ripped from today's headlines, as the saying goes.

Manuelito is trying to escape his home in Guatemala, as the local gangs are killing people, and the army is snatching people, and it is not safe to be there. He thinks that going to the US is the only way, and his father pays a coyote to take him there. This is the story of his trip.


This depressing story is ripped from today's headlines, as the saying goes.

Manuelito is trying to escape his home in Guatemala, as the local gangs are killing people, and the army is snatching people, and it is not safe to be there. He thinks that going to the US is the only way, and his father pays a coyote to take him there. This is the story of his trip.



The art looks awkward, as though drawn from photographs. The text looks slapped on, but that might be just the review gallery version. The book is depressing, but based on real life events that are happening even now.

I found the art a little to much on the crude side, but the story was intense, and very realistic. It is a story that needs to be told, because of all the horrors that are happening south of the American border.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
Manuelito is a grade-school boy from a rural Mayan village in the highlands of Guatemala. His community was rife with violence from various groups including the armed civil patrol (PACs, in Spanish), Maras (gangs), and drug dealers. This story portrays the reality of illegal immigration as a consequence of widespread violence, poverty, and drug trafficking. Manuelito’s school closed and with nowhere else to go and nothing else to do at his age, his family decided to send him to the US to live wi ...more
Michelle Leonard
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
#kidlitexchange #partner Thanks to Annick Press, author Elisa Amado, and illustrator Abraham Urias for sharing this upcoming MG graphic novel with the @kitlitexchange network. MANUELITO releases 4/9/19. All opinions are my own.

MANUELITO is a graphic novel that explains the dangers of seeking asylum from the perspective of a thirteen-year-old Guatemalan boy. When cartel-backed drug gangs invade his village, it is no longer safe for anyone to live there, but especially teen boys. They
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lately, it has been a relevant time for books. Books like White Rose from @kipwilsonwrites and Internment by @sam_aye_ahm give us glimpses into both the past and one of our not so great futures. Manuelito, published by @annick_press is here to tell you about the present.

TW: Mild Violence (off page)

In the present, headlines about refugees and immigration plague our news feeds and our TVs but sometimes we forget. Those headlines are also people, children, with harrowing sto
Kate Waggoner
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-read
Manuelito is the powerful story of a teenage refugee. When gangs start to take over Manuelito's town in Guatemala, his parents fear for his safety and hire a coyote to take him to the United States. The graphic novel details Manuelito's trip to the United States, his attempt to seek asylum once he reaches the U.S., and his treatment within the U.S. The story is told in a graphic novel style with some initial information provided before and after the graphic novel about Guatemala and refugees.

Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
@Kidlitexchange #partner - I received a copy of this book from the Kidlitexchange network in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Releasing 4/9/19

When cartel-backed gangs took over his village, Manuelito's parents find him a coyote and send him on his way to the U.S. for a chance at a safer, better life.

I knew reading this graphic novel would make me very upset but I had to. As a U.S. immigrant (and a former non-U.S. refugee) even though my c
Marta Ilieva
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Manuelito follows the story of a young Guatemalan boy, Manuelito, who is forced to leave his country because of the terror created by PACs and drug gangs, and shows what happens to immigrants (in this case, from Guatemala) just when they cross the border. This graphic novel encapsulates current immigration crisis, making it relevant and horrifyingly real. While the story focuses on only one person, it nevertheless highlights the horrors of what refugees/immigrants/asylum seekers go through today ...more
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
@kidlitexchange #partner
Thank you to @annick_press for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Manuelito is a thirteen year old Guatemalan. His parents decide to send him to America with the “help” of a coyote so that Manuelito does not become a victim of gang violence like his Tio Domingo. This graphic novel does not shy away from sharing the harsh reality that many peope from the Northern Triangle of Central America are forced to endure before, during, and after
Laura Smith Ramsborg
Jul 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: yal-reading
The story and topic are critical and I've not read a lot about refugees seeking asylum from Guatemala. I learned more about the dangers people from Central America are facing, and the reasons they are attempting to relocate to Mexico and the U.S. I just wish there was more of this story. Granted, graphic novels go quick but this felt like it ended very abruptly and was a short read. Perhaps that was intentional to make it more accessible to a wide range of young adult readers? I would definitely ...more
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
A very sad & terrifying story about a 13 year old's life in Guatemala...leading to his parents decision to try to engineer their son's dangerous & risky escape to America. This timely story is accompanied by very expressive 2 tone chalk like drawings/illustrations......very well done, & story very well told. It sort of describes the scary urgency & violence......without blatant graphic horror.....that is/must be a part of this awful drama...... It is terrible what is going on in ...more
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a fast read but hurt in more than one way. As of today, Asylum seekers are at the border of the U.S and Mexico, awaiting entrance into the U.S. Children are being kept in cages and in poor living conditions. There are no words to explain how unfair and ridiculous they have been treated and the images in this book capture why they flee their country in the first place and why it is so important to treat them like human beings. Everyone should be reading books like this, to understand the ...more
Elizabeth Castro
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it

The before and after writings from the author specifically blamed the United States for Manuelito's problems. Manuelito was more "telling than showing," and seemed politically motivated.
What got me interested in learning more about immigration, was the graphic novel- "Illegal" which captures the gut wrenching feelings of immigration from a tween's perspective. After reading this book, Manuelito did not live up to my expectations.
Manuelito could have been so much more if the text wasn't as rigi
Aug 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Manuelito's village in Guatemala is overrun by Narcos and gangs--making it too dangerous for him to remain. So his family arranges for him to travel to an aunt in the United States. He makes the journey in the company of a coyote, who--unknown to his family--is a very dangerous man. But even when he reaches the US, the danger is not over. I really wanted to like this one. It's such an important subject, but there is a distance here--a dispassion which doesn't do justice to the urgency of the top ...more
Dani Scott
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book that is, unfortunately, very relevant right now. The illustrations are beautiful black and white, stark, I'd say. the story is of Manuelito (and others) who are hoping to cross the US/Mexico border into the US. What happens along the way with the "coyote" is horrifying, as is treatment once Manuelito does make it into the states.

Though the book is not an in-depth look at this issue, it is a good primer, especially for young folks.
Jul 31, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was pretty good. Not as enlightening as I thought it would be which I guess is a good thing because it means I know a decent amount on the subject. But still a good look into the experience of being a refugee in North America. I would definitely recommend this more for elementary and middle schoolers. I think it would be a great book for that age because it's a graphic novel, easy to read, and would give them insight on the experience.
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
An unflinching and uncomfortable look at immigration between Central America and the US, told through the eyes of a young boy from Guatemala. I liked the charcoal illustrations a lot--they have a stark energy that can convey both dread and hope very effectively.

There's no credit given for the two children's sketches at the very back, which I assume are made by actual children, but I have no idea. I'm curious where these came from.
Lissette Vazquez
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
As a Latina this book pierced my heart. I am not Guatemalan but I'm a mother and I couldn't bear the thought of sending my child away. We are blessed here and there has to be a way we share and help others grow. It is basic enough to make anyone unseeatnd the plight is these children. A a reader we can also make inferences s to what happens or has happened
Oct 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
Spare, child's eye view of being an unaccompanied minor seeking asylum. There's a lack of resolution that will certainly bother some, and the lettering is, oddly, typewritten in a standard font, instead of either being hand lettered or using a font that at least looks hand lettered, which I personally found a bit distracting.
Ms. Mester
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 18, 2019 rated it liked it
This seemed like it was going to be compelling and certainly it told an important story, but it was just too ... straightforward? There was no depth that created a connection to the story. It’s odd to say that a graphic novel failed to “show, not tell,” but that’s kind of it.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-stack
an important read
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Elisa Amado is a native of Guatemala who now lives and works in eastern Canada. In addition to writing stories for the early grades based upon her own multicultural experiences, she has also served as a translator for both Spanish and Zapotec authors who craft tales for young children. In her dual roles as writer and translator, Amado has expanded the number of Central American folk tales availabl ...more
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