Red Midnight Library Binding – May 2002
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5-9-When soldiers burn his Guatemalan village and kill his family, 12-year-old Santiago escapes with his 4-year-old sister, Angelina. Following the instructions of his dying uncle, he makes his way to Lake Izabal, where he takes his uncle's small sailing canoe and begins a terrifying journey north and across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida. The siblings face starvation and dehydration; lack of sleep; strong sun, wind, and waves; and their own fears and sorrows to win their game of Staying Alive. The present-tense narrative suggests the speech of someone whose first language is not English, and Santiago's first-person account makes the adventure even more immediate. The opening scene is memorable, as the burning of the village turns the night sky red. However, the necessary flashback to explain how a mountain boy learned rudimentary sailing and the almost unbelievable details of the children's trip between their village and their uncle's home give readers pause, rather than pulling them into the suspense of the story. At times, the anger in the author's message almost overwhelms the action. "The rich have no conscience," their uncle's friend says. The first Americans they encounter call them "stinking boat people" and tell them to go away from their private beach club. In an afterword, the author explains that the soldiers who massacred villagers were armed by the U.S. government as part of our fight against communism. Thus, we share the blame for such atrocities. In spite of the heavy-handed message, readers who persevere through the first third of the book will be rewarded with a terrific survival story.
Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“Fans who expect a gripping tale of overcoming dangers, will not be disappointed.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“A terrific survival story.” (School Library Journal)
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Top Customer Reviews
One example of why I enjoyed this book was the edge-of-your-seat plot. As soon as I opened the book and read just the first few lines I knew this book would be hard to set down. Right away the book starts with an onslaught of soldiers maliciously terrorizing and murdering the entire town. Yet a little boy and a little girl escape barely holding onto their lives. Then, in a mere kayak, they set out into the Gulf of Mexico and sail towards America. Facing incredible odds they have no idea if they will make it to America alive. Every storm was brought into play as a threat to the young children's life. Their lives were in the untrusting hand of luck. This is just a brief summary! The plot was so exciting I honestly had to force myself to put the book away or I would never get any sleep!
Another reason I enjoyed the book was the life-like characterizations. I loved the perky little sister that seemed to think her whole entire life revolved around a game. I know a couple of people that are exactly like this, and it just amuses me when an author makes the characters have life-like personalities.Read more ›
The book is about a twelve year old boy, named Santiago. Santiago lived in a small village in Guatamala, with his family.
One night soldiers burned his village. Santiago woke up to the sounds of his mothers crys. "go, take your sister and run. Go as far as you can, and tell the story of what you have seen tonight!" Santiago took his sister and ran. He spotted his uncle (who had come for a visit), already shot and dying. His uncle tells him to take the cayuco( a kayak ) and sail to the United States os America. Yet, the cayuco is at his Uncle's house. Santiago has about a ten hour journey. He has to be fast and keep out of site.
Once Santiago and his sister reach the cayuco, they face a long journeyout on the open sea.Many things can go wrong. Santiago knows that one mistake could kill him and his sister. Santiago learns that the sea does not forgive.
Red Midnight is the kind of book were you always want to know what will happen next. I liked Red Midnight because you couldn't guess what was going to happen next in the book. Everything comes as a complete surprise0. When I looked at the cover of the book I thought that Red Midnight was going to be about sailing a kayak during a storm. Well I guess It's true, you can't judge a book by it's cover.
This was the best adventure book! santiago and his little sister are always at the verge of dying. this is what makes this book exciting.Santiago and his sister through many obstacles while on their journey to the United States of America.One failed obstacles could mess up everything.
The book was written in the perspective of Santiago. Santiago tells a story about his past.Read more ›
Santiago watches his family and his village be burned to the ground by soldiers of Guatemala. Santiago is only ten years old. He escapes with his four year old sister, Angelina. His uncle tells him to sail his cayuco across the ocean and tell the United States what has happened. Santiago and Angelina first have to find their Uncle's house without being seen. when they finally arrive, their Uncle's friend gives them food supplies and helps them into the water. He tells them not to be seen, to watch for pirates and they should arrive to the United States within about 20 days. After the 22 day on the ocean, they are too weak to move, there is no land in sight, and they have no more food.
If you want to know what happens in the end, read this book. Share Santiago, and Angelina's adventure across the ocean.
This book was really great. It shows how fortunate we are to be living in the US. It is a book that I would highly recommend.
Most recent customer reviews
Red Midnight, by Ben Mikaelsen,is about a boy (Santiago) and his little sister (Angelina) whose parents are killed, and in order to stay alive they have to sail to America. Read morePublished on May 24 2004
i absolutely LOVED THIS BOOK. i am way into adventure in other parts of the world, and this was the perfect book for it. Read morePublished on Dec 16 2003 by Erica
The book Red Midnight written by Ben Mikaelsen is about a twelve-year-old boy named Santiago and his-four-year sister, Angelina, who's village of Dos Vias, Guatemala is burned down... Read morePublished on Oct. 16 2003