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Playing for the Devil's Fire

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Boli, 13, and his loving family live in a tiny rural village in Mexico, where his father is a baker. Although the town and Boliís friends are quite poor, life is pleasant and easygoing; he spends afternoons playing marbles with his best friend and is excited by the upcoming visit of luchadores (Mexican wrestlers). Against this realistically poor but serene backdrop, Diederich inserts the drug wars: corruption in the form of newcomers flaunting money, currying favor with police and the village priest, and seducing high-school girls. When the schoolteacherís severed head is found in the town square after Sunday mass, Boliís parents decide to go to police in a larger town for help. They never return, and no one seems interested in helping find them, until a second-rate luchador with a drinking problem is taken in by Boli. El Chicano Estrada becomes the boyís surrogate father and partner in fighting the graft now running rampant. Striking imagery and symbolism, along with the timeliness of the subject, make this title a natural for classroom discussion, and a Spanish glossary will aid English-only speakers. Diederich, who grew up in Mexico City, brings firsthand experience as well as tremendous compassion to this poignant coming-of-age novel.
- April 1, 2016  Visit Website

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