I Am a Taxi

I Am a Taxi

Written by: Ellis, Deborah
ages 10 to 14 / grades 5 to 9

Winner of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award

For twelve-year-old Diego and his family, home is a prison in Cochabamba, Bolivia. His parents farmed coca, a traditional Bolivian medicinal plant, until they got caught in the middle of the government's war on drugs and were mistakenly convicted of drug possession.

Diego's parents are locked up, but he can come and go: to school, to the market to sell his mother's handknitted goods, and to work as a "taxi," running errands for other prisoners. But then his little sister temporarily runs off while under his watch, earning his mother a heavy fine. The debt and dawning realization of his hopeless situation make him vulnerable to his friend Mando's plan to make big money, fast.

Soon, Diego is deep in the jungle, working as a virtual slave in an illegal cocaine operation. As his situation becomes more and more dangerous, he knows he must take a terrible risk if he ever wants to see his family again.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.6
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.6
Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.

Winner of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award

For twelve-year-old Diego and his family, home is a prison in Cochabamba, Bolivia. His parents farmed coca, a traditional Bolivian medicinal plant, until they got caught in the middle of the government's war on drugs and were mistakenly convicted of drug possession.

Diego's parents are locked up, but he can come and go: to school, to the market to sell his mother's handknitted goods, and to work as a "taxi," running errands for other prisoners. But then his little sister temporarily runs off while under his watch, earning his mother a heavy fine. The debt and dawning realization of his hopeless situation make him vulnerable to his friend Mando's plan to make big money, fast.

Soon, Diego is deep in the jungle, working as a virtual slave in an illegal cocaine operation. As his situation becomes more and more dangerous, he knows he must take a terrible risk if he ever wants to see his family again.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.6
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.6
Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd - Sep 1, 2006
Specifications 208 pages | 4.97 in x 7.45 in
Supporting Resources
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Excerpt

"...the strength of the book lies in the glimpse of a single individual struggling to exist in a society with limited options for escape." — Horn Book, STARRED REVIEW

Audience ages 10 to 14 / grades 5 to 9
Reading Levels Lexile 730L
Key Text Features chapters
Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.6
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.6