Celebrating the Hero

by Lyll Becerra de Jenkins

Seventeen-year-old Camila is the only daughter of an Anglo father and a Colombian... read more

Seventeen-year-old Camila is the only daughter of an Anglo father and a Colombian mother. She has grown up in the United States and most of what she knows of her mother's heritage comes from stories her mother told about her childhood growing up in San Javier, a small town in Colombia where her father was something of a local hero. Camila's maternal grandmother was rarely mentioned in her mother's stories. After her mother's death, Camila agrees to represent her at a local celebration in honor of her famous grandfather. But there is a mix-up in the flight arrangements and Camila arrives in San Javier a full 24 hours before anyone else in her family knows she's there. And that gives her just enough time to try to find out who her grandmother was and why she is never mentioned. The details she manages to uncover reveal much about her heritage that her mother probably could never have divulged, details that Camila's status as an outsider likely sharpen and amplify. Lyll Becerra de Jenkins' brilliant novel explores the depths of human identity connected to gender, culture and age, even as she spins out all the intrigue of a great mystery story and keeps the reader riveted to the page. Winner, 1993 CCBC Newbery Award Discussion. (Age 12 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1993

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