Author: Carolyn Marsden
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Concepts: economic development, property rights, environmental conservation
Review: Nine-year old Rosalba enjoyed traveling with her mother from her rural Mayan village to the large market in town, where they could sell the blankets they wove and purchase necessities to bring back home. Yet she was always glad to return home to the peacefulness of the woods, cornfields, and hills, far removed from the noise and traffic of town.
For this reason Rosalba was distressed to discover that a bulldozer had begun to clear a path through the woods to make a road to their beloved village of San Martín. Even worse, it seemd that a number of people in her village welcomed the idea of a road making it easier to travel to town. Empowered by the encouragement of a new friend and by visions from a shaman in her dreams, Rosalba set on the difficult path of trying to stop something much bigger than her.
This skillfully-crafted short novel offers an interesting glimpse of a Mayan community caught in between protecting their traditional way of life on the one hand, and continuing on the road to economic development on the other. Thoroughly intertwined in the storyline are a number of economic themes, including property rights and the economic role of government. A fairly slow plot may deter those who prefer more adventure, but a strong lead character and a multicultural context make the book a refreshingly different choice.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children