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Groundwood Books

I Am a Taxi

Written by Deborah Ellis

For students in grades 5 - 9 | Published September 01, 2006 | ISBN 9780888997364

Cover of I Am a Taxi

Regular price $9.95 CAD

208 pages | 7.45 in × 4.97 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book

I Am a Taxi

The Cocalero Novels

Deborah Ellis

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.

About the Author

Deborah Ellis

Deborah Ellis is a member of the Order of Canada. She has won the University of California’s Middle East Book Award, Sweden’s Peter Pan Prize, the Governor General’s Award, and the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. She is best known for her Breadwinner series, which has been published in twenty-five languages, with $2 million in royalties donated to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and Street Kids International. deborahellis.com

Awards and Praise
I Am a Taxi is uncompromisingly gritty and graphic, painting a devastatingly accurate portrait of life for kids (and their parents) in the Third World....a good story, well told, with a compelling plot and fully realized characters, that will captivate readers.
  • Commended SSLI Honor Book, 2007
  • Commended Cooperative Children's Book Center Choice, 2007
  • Short-listed Alberta Children's Choice Award, 2008
  • Commended CCBC Our Choice (Starred Selection), 2007
  • Long-listed SYRCA Snow Willow Award, 2007
  • Long-listed YALSA BBYA, 2007
  • Commended CLA Book of the Year for Children Award, 2007
  • Commended White Ravens, 2007
  • Short-listed Manitoba Young Reader's Choice Award, 2008
  • Long-listed OLA Golden Oak Award, 2008