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The Land of the Cranes

4.55  ·  Rating details ·  1,130 ratings  ·  285 reviews
From the prolific author of The Moon Within comes the heart-wrenchingly beautiful story in verse of a young Latinx girl who learns to hold on to hope and love even in the darkest of places: a family detention center for migrants and refugees.

Nine-year-old Betita knows she is a crane. Papi has told her the story, even before her family fled to Los Angeles to seek refuge fro
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 15th 2020 by Scholastic Press
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kate ♥ I would say middle grade -- 6th and up. I wouldn't recommend for sensitive readers. …moreI would say middle grade -- 6th and up. I wouldn't recommend for sensitive readers. (less)
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Average rating 4.55  · 
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 ·  1,130 ratings  ·  285 reviews

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Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
A book in verse by the author of The Moon Within, it tells the story of a Latina girl, Betita, whose father has been separated from them due to migration issues and has been arrested. He gets deported to Mexico while her pregnant mother and she got detained and had to live in inhuman conditions ill-treated and neglected. She gets to learn how discriminated and hated they are just because they are immigrants and different from the people there.

This story is heartbreaking and left me wondering, y
what a beautiful book. i found the reading so cathartic. this is a gut-punching story but with so much hope.

trigger warnings: deportation, ICE, family separation, physical and emotional abuse, child abuse, recollection of sexual assault, racist and xenophobic slurs
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade, poetry
Y'all. OMG.

Just wait till you read this beautiful, heart-wrenching book.
I don't know how I could ever do this book justice in a review. But I can urge you to read it. It's a beautifully written verse novel, and such a hard hitting story that needs to be told and needs to be heard.

CWs: detention, deportation, ICE, separating of family members, violence, sexual assault, blood
Oct 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommended to Elizabeth☮ by:
Young Betita is happy with her home life. She creates beautiful poetry with images to depict what she loves in life. Her father encourages her to always find the dulzura in life. But things change dramatically when Betita's father is swept up in an ICE raid and deported to Mexico. Her pregnant mother and Betitita are trying to stay positive, but things seem grim. When they make an attempt to visit her father at the border, things turn worse. Betita and her mother are taken to a detention center. ...more
Cody Roecker
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is essential reading for every single human. It's heartbreaking and heartwarming, a hug to every immigrant, a love letter to family. I utterly adored reading Betita's story and I'm so excited for it to take flight and soar. ...more
Sofia (Bookish Wanderess)

*I received an e-arc from the publisher in exchange of an honest review*

I had a lump in my throat the entire time I was reading this. This book is brutal and the fact that it's told from the pov of a little girl makes it even more devastating.
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
WOW.....5+++ Stars
A beautiful, heart-wrenching tween novel in verse that highlights the problem of undocumented immigrants in the US. Told from the point of view of 9-year-old Betita, it follows the painful story of her small family after her father is arrested by ICE and deported back to Mexico and she and her pregnant mother are sent to a detention centre where they are treated horribly and children are often separated from their parents.
"I wrote Land of the Cranes with an understanding of the long and devastat
Betita was a profoundly moving narrator, capturing an incredibly important experience in Trump's America. The writing was so perfect, with Salazar using beautiful metaphors and searing images to capture the reader's heart. The writing especially makes this a highly recommended choice for study in book clubs or as a whole-class novel, with rich language to discuss and unpack. ...more
Kris Patrick
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Esperanza Rising can be found in book club and whole class novel baggies in most every school serving some combination of grades 3-6 across the US. It will celebrate its 22nd birthday next year. Whoa!

I’m thinking we can do better when looking for a shared text for this age range that centers the Mexican immigrant experience.
Katie Proctor
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Wowza. This short book written in verse packs a punch. It tells the story of Betita, an undocumented girl, and her mother as they get detained at the border of the US and Mexico. Her story is so, so hard, but it’s not without hope.
Shireen Hakim
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"look at all migration patterns-not only of people, but of cranes and other species..."

This breathtakingly beautiful book is a must-read for everyone to attach human stories to the demonic acts of the US government imprisoning innocent migrants searching for peace.

This is the #ownvoices book we needed, instead of the white-washed 'american dirt.'

Although this is a middle grade lyrical book, it is an enjoyable and important read for both children and adults.

I highly recom
Alyse Liebovich
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book, poetry
"Look around. You think this is justice?
You think this is humane?
You think we deserve to be in a concentration camp for
seeking asylum? You have NO idea what
most of us are running from. Most of us
had no choice by to try to find a better life."
(p. 194)

Wow. This is a short but poignant novel-in-verse that I hope all young people get their hands on to learn about young Betita and her pregnant mother's experiences being detained by ICE.
Perfect timing to read for everyone, really, as the president
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book Review 📚📚📚📚

After reading American Dirt earlier in the year, I was recommended to Land of the Cranes a haunting and heartbreaking story of Mexican American migration, American policy on migrants. This is a story told from the point of view of Betita, a highly imaginative Mexican American migrant girl. Her father is taken away by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and deported. Benita and her pregnant mother are also detained in the prison like detention centre.
At the centre they meet
Feb 23, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I have to start with books written in prose pose a real problem for me when I'm rating them for a broad audience as not every person likes to read in this particular format. Despite that initial hesitation, I have to say that yes, it is beautiful, despite the horrors described. Yes, it uses imagery to make it more relatable to a child's imagination. You really get a feel for our little leading lady's hardships. You really feel the awful conditions they have to endure, and the strength of their v ...more
Heart wrenching story-I found myself tearing up as Betita shared her personal story as an undocumented child locked up in a US Detention Center.
Carolyn Klassen
4.5 stars

Land of the Cranes, despite being a very short novel-in-verse, was emotionally rich and beautifully complex. Heartbreaking and honest but not without hope. Because while seeing inside an ICE detention centre is grim and full of stories of trauma, it also shows us that these are not inexplicable haunted houses. They are run by ordinary people, funded by governments. And we know we can break those down. All the Betitas in these cells can be freed one day if we work toward change.
I'm sort
Ms. Yingling
Jun 09, 2020 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Nine-year-old Betita loves to hear her father tell Aztec legends about cranes, and agrees with him that her family are like the cranes that have come home and should be allowed to fly. Her parents have come to the US from Mexico, following an aunt and uncle. They work very hard, the father in construction and washing dishes, and the mother as a nanny, although her father was an agronomist and her mother a teacher in Mexico. They had to flee because Betita's grandp
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Betita’s father has always told her that they are descendants of the Aztecs who came from Atzlan, which is now the southwestern United States. They are cranes who have returned home. Living in Los Angeles, Betita goes to school while her parents work long hours. But then one day, her father is taken by ICE and deported to Mexico. Betita and her mother make the long car ride to the border to see him, but find themselves arrested and put into a detention camp. Forced to sleep on the concrete floor ...more
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After listening to this author on panel at Everywhere Book Fest, I promptly downloaded her new book, in verse, and realized she also wrote 'The Moon Within' which really stuck with me last year. This one tells the heart-wrenching story of a family in LA 'sin papeles' and how Betita and her pregnant mom wind up in an immigrant detention facility. Beautiful and hopeful and also so, so sad. ...more
Misse Jones
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alicia (A Kernel of Nonsense)
**Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the author, which does not influence my review**

TW: deportation, psychological and physical abuse, mention of miscarriage, child molestation

Aida Salazar’s newest middle grade novel-in-verse, Land of the Cranes, shines a spotlight on the cruelty surrounding immigration laws and their enforcement in this county. Betita has a passion for poetry, she loves words and expresses herself though picture poetry. She and her family are also undocumented. Wh
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandy O'Brien
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Genre: MG Realistic Fiction / Novel in Verse

Nine-year-old Betita knows she is a crane. Papi has told her the story, even before her family fled to Los Angeles to seek refuge from cartel violence in Mexico. He says that Betita and her family are cranes that have returned to their promised land, Aztlán, land of the cranes. But one day, Papi is arrested by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) and deported to Mexico. Betita and her pregnant mother are left behind on their own, but soon the
Well @aida_writes I’m in tears after reading the MG free verse book The Land of Cranes.
Betita is from the Southwest US known as the land of the cranes, formerly Aztlan. Papa tells Betita the cranes have come home...then he’s arrested by ICE and sent to Mexico. Betita and her pregnant mother are soon after thrown into a detention center outside of LA. Even though the conditions are cruel and inhumane, Betita finds hope and joy through #poetry and the friends she makes in the camp. But how much
Megan Hartley
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A novel in verse, it tells the story of a young LatinX girl, Betita. Her papi has told her the story of how they are cranes who have returned to live in their promised land. One day Betita’s papi is arrested by Immigration Customs Enforcement and deported to Mexico leaving Betita and her pregnant mother behind. They too are soon detained and must learn to survive in a family detention camp. Despite living in cruel inhumane conditions, Betita finds love and hope in her poetry and family she’s mad ...more
Becky Ginther
One of those reads that's difficult but important. An #ownvoices book about a 9 year old girl named Betita whose family came to the US from Mexico to get away from cartel wars. One day her father is deported back to Mexico and eventually Betita and her mother are also detained at the border. Much of the book takes place in this detention center.

I think it is extremely important to address these sorts of things with kids and books like this are a good way to do that. It would be ideal as a book u
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All-consuming and highly affecting, LAND OF THE CRANES by Aida Salazar bears witness to the atrocities against migrant families by ICE and their inhumane policies. In poignant and reflective prose, this stunning novel in verse is told through Betita, a smart, compassionate, and talented fourth grader who takes great pride in writing picture poems. They are celebrated and cherished by her father, but the subject of Betita’s writing soon becomes sad and fearful as her father gets deported and she ...more
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