Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Featured YA Book: Sacred Leaf by Deborah Ellis

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Featured YA Book: Sacred Leaf by Deborah Ellis

Groundwood Books, 2007

About the book:
In this sequel to I Am a Taxi, Diego is taken in by the Ricardo family -- traditional cocaleros who provide a safe haven while he recovers from his ordeal as a virtual slave in an illegal cocaine operation. But even that brief respite comes to an end when the army moves in and destroys the family's coca crop -- and their livelihood. Diego eventually joins the cocaleros as they protest the destruction of their crops by barricading the roads and confronting the army head-on. As tension between the cocaleros builds to a dramatic standoff, he wonders whether he will ever find a way to return to his family.

Sacred Leaf and I Am a Taxi depict the price people in Latin America pay for cocaine use in North America. As these important and immensely topical books demonstrate, the war on drugs exacts a terrible cost from the people in Bolivia who have grown coca for legitimate purposes for hundreds of years. The struggles of cocalero farmers to be allowed to grow and sell their crop eventually led to the election of Evo Morales as president of Bolivia.

About the author:
Deborah Ellis was born in 1960 in Cochrane, Ontario, and was raised in Paris, Ontario. While still in high school, she got involved in the anti-nuclear war movement in the late 1970s, and that lead to further involvement in politics, particularly feminism and projects aimed at drawing attention to the consequences of war. She had been writing since she was a child, and published Looking For X in l999, followed by the novels about Afghanistan. She has been able to travel around the world, meeting people who have survived serious calamities brought about by other people's decisions, and has recorded their stories for others to read and learn from. She lives in Simcoe, Ontario.

Read more about Deborah Ellis and Sacred Leaf at the Groundwood Books website.