Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Treasure of the World

Sullivan, Tara. Treasure of the World
February 23rd 2021 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Ana lives with her parents, grandmother, and brother Daniel in Bolivia, near the Cerro Rico metal mine where her father works. Daniel has always been sickly and had trouble with his lungs, issues that were made worse by the altitude in the mountains. Still, the two children have been able to attend school, although it is almost a two hour walk to get there, and Ana has to help  her grandmother and mother after school, searching for small bits of ore in scrap rock. When ore prices rise, Ana's father (who is frequently drunk and abusive) demands that Daniel go to work in the mines with him. After only two days, Daniel is gravely ill, and Ana volunteers to go in his place. Her father has to plead with the supervisor, Don C├ęsar, since girls are usually considered bad luck to have in the mines. Ana wishes she could continue on with her schooling, since she knows that education is the only way she can avoid a future as the wife of a miner, but she loves her brother and is protective of him. Ana is a good worker, but after a month, Daniel is back in the mines. When a collapse occurs, it impacts Ana's life in several ways. Her father is dead, and her brother is missing. She tries to find Daniel, but gets stuck in the mine. Luckily, she is eventually rescued by Santiago, who takes her into a nearby village so that his sister can help Ana. After she has recuperated a little, Ana goes home, only to find that her brother has been found, but her mother has married. This actually improves their lives quite a bit, but mining life is difficult, and most families are one medical emergency away from disaster. Ana is brave and resilient, and has learned to take chances in order to help her family. Will she be able to find a way out of their current troubles?
Strengths: Like this author's The Bitter Side of Sweet, this is an important book about how children in other parts of the world live. The depiction of the situation of women and girls is explained well, and while part of Ana is resigned to this, the bigger part of her is not, and she does what she can to change her lot. Her grandmother provides a lot of history about the treatment of the Incan people in Bolivia, and of the state of the mining industry and how it affects people. Her friend Victor has several interesting complications in his life that paint a more vivid picture of what life is like. Seeing the wealthy household in the larger town was also informative. I really liked it when the mother got remarried, and for a bit Ana was able to really enjoy her improved life, only to see it threatened. This is definitely a captivating story about a little investigated part of the world. 
Weaknesses: While this is not an #ownvoicesbook, Sullivan lived in Bolivia for a number of years and has clearly done massive amounts of research to adequately portray life in a rural Bolivian mining community. 
What I really think: This had so many good details about life in Bolivia, and a really compelling story about a girl using her initiative to make her life better. It will be popular with readers who like Bow's Stand on the Sky, Saaed's Amal UnboundButterworth's Running on the Roof of the World and Kadarusman's Girl of the Southern Sea.

No comments:

Post a Comment