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Red Midnight [Library Binding]

Ben Mikaelson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 26 2002
When guerrilla soldiers strike Santiago's village, they shoot at everyone in their path. Dos Vías is on fire, and the night glows red. "Take the cayuco and sail to the United States of America. Now go!" Santiago's uncle Ramos tells him, and Santiago, twelve, and his four-year-old sister, Angelina, flee.

With a map, a machete, and very little food, Santiago and Angelina set sail in their uncle Ramos's sea kayak, built for just such an escape, but not for a sailor who is only a boy. Santiago heads for the United States on a voyage that will take them through narrow channels guarded by soldiers, shark, infested waters, and days of painful heat and raging storms. Santiago knows that he and Angelina probably will die trying to make the voyage, but they certainly will die at the hands of rebels or government soldiers if they do not try.

In this tale of courage, survival, and triumph, Ben Mikaelsen introduces readers to a danger and fear that is far too real for many children, and he reminds us of the responsibility and power that the world's richest nation bears to help end it.

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Product Description

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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TRY TO FORGET the night they burned my village. Read the first page
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5.0 out of 5 stars !Red Midnight! May 24 2004
By A Customer
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. They take their uncle's little cayaco to sail. There are many problems along the way to the U.S. See if they can actually make it to the Gulf of Mexico! It is a very good book and very exciting! I would recommend this book to anyone! YOU SHOULD READ IT!
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5.0 out of 5 stars yay Dec 16 2003
By Erica
i absolutely LOVED THIS BOOK. i am way into adventure in other parts of the world, and this was the perfect book for it. when it started i thought it was going to be about war, but it turned out to be an epic tale about the will to survive. i couldnt put it down (literally; i almost got a detention for reading it in class) and it kept me on the edge of my seat all the time. READ IT!!!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Red Midnight Oct. 16 2003
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 from Guatemalan soldiers. All of Santiago's and Angelina's family is shot, leaving the two children to escape into the burning night to find a way to get to the United States of America. They end up taking a sea kayak with the help of some friends, through the rough and dangerous waters of the ocean. Will they survive? Read the book and find out! I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read adventure stories. Red Midnight is an easy-to-read fun story.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hello Oct. 16 2003
The book the Red Midnight By Ben Mikaelsen is about a 12 year old boy named Santiago and a 4 year old girl named Angelina, who's village in Dos Vias, Guatemala, was burnt to the ground and the people in it murdered be for there eyes, by the solders and the gorilla war fare. Then they are forced in to going to the United States to tell them of the horrible things that have been happening Guatemala. When they finely reach the open ocean, with help from a friend named Enriqua. They are faced with many obstacles be for reaching there goal.
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.
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