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Poems for the Lost Children of Chile
Written by María José Ferrada
Illustrated by María Elena Valdez
Translated by Lawrence Schimel

Ages 7 and up
HARDCOVER; Published: 3/23/2021
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5567-1
Price: $ 18.99
76 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6.5 x 8.875
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Series: Stories from Latin America

On September 11, 1973, a military coup plunged Chile into seventeen long years of dictatorial rule. Only the return of democracy could reveal the full horrors of Augusto Pinochet’s regime: 3,197 people dead or disappeared—including thirty-four children under the age of fourteen.

This book is a stirring memorial to those victims and to the cost of extremism. Thirty-four poems—one for each child lost—consider the diverse hopes of these fragile young lives. From Alicia to Jaime, Héctor to Paola, Soledad to Rafael, they were brave and creative, thoughtful and strong. In these pages, some children watch for the changing seasons. Some listen for new sounds on rainy afternoons. And some can’t wait for their next birthday.

Featuring gentle, emotive poems and soft, pastel-toned illustrations, Niños is an unforgettable tribute to the children of Pinochet’s Chile and all those threatened by political violence across the world.

Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature Honorable Mention (2022)

The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College Paterson Prize for Books for Young People Co-Winner in Grades 7 – 12 (2022)

 Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices List in Poetry (2022)

Association for Library Service to Children Notable Children's Books List (2022)

 School Library Journal Best Books List (2021)

Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Books of the Year List (2021)

New York Public Library Best Books for Kids List (2021)

Society of Illustrators Original Art Exhibit Selection (2021)

BolognaFiere BolognaRagazzi Award Special Mention (2021)

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A book to be read and remembered: a tribute to children whose lives were lost to forces not of their own creation.”
Publishers Weekly
“Dedicated to ‘the memory that helps us defeat monsters,’ the childhoods that Ferrada imagines for these young victims of violence—childhoods in which nothing bad happens, and there’s enough time for each to do whatever they like—feel both poignant and haunting.”
“In this beautiful, haunting poetry collection—dedicated to the child victims of Pinochet’s Chilean regime, established in 1973—each of 33 poems focuses on one of the children: Alicia, who never celebrated another birthday but who could have loved balloons; Francisco, who loved to read; Jessica, Marcela, and Orlando, who enjoyed animals and insects. The short, heartbreaking poems bring to the surface the simple joys of life that these kids experienced for too brief a time, reflecting not only the many possibilities they were robbed of but also the acute way children have of noticing everything—the changes in a tree, the brightness of the sun, the different sounds raindrops make. At the end, the names and ages of all 33 children are listed, along with a poem dedicated to one child found alive. The soft, muted illustrations show the beauty of the world as seen through their eyes, tinged with the sadness of something lost, imploring readers never to allow children to go through this experience again.”
School Library Journal (starred review)
“A heartfelt volume emphasizing innocence in the face of continuing political violence, this #OwnVoices work is a must-purchase for poetry collections serving young patrons.”