Mañanaland by Pam Muños Ryan
Mañanaland presents a dreamlike Latin American landscape and a little boy who is taking a big step towards adulthood.
Mañanaland by Pam Muños Ryan. Scholastic, 2020, 247 pages.
Reading level: intermediate level, Age 8-10
Recommended for: Age 10-14
Somewhere on the American continent, many years after another, and long before it was happy, a boy climbed the cobblestone steps of an arch bridge in the tiny village of Santa Maria in the homonymous country.
The boy is Maximiliano Cordoba or Max, the only son of a stonemason who inherited his father and grandfather's talent for (and love of) football. He is safe in his small village with good friends and a loving family, but now that Max is getting older, his thoughts are wandering beyond comfortable limits. In particular, he begins to wonder about his mother, who left when he was too young to remember. Papá's limitations also start to scrub: don't ask too many questions, get lost too far from home, and never venture into the tower known as La Reina, the "Great Queen". The breakpoint comes when Max is not allowed to go to the summer football camp, although it is free. Papa appears to be both anxious and incredibly non-communicative, but Buelo only says that Max will know everything in time as soon as his father judges him ready to hear it.
One night, when both adults are gone, Max opens the door to a stranger, Father Romero. A stranger to Max, that is; Father Romero knows the rest of his family well and needs their help for a secret mission. Max volunteers for the job as there is a possibility that it will lead to his mother. But he has no idea what dangers lie ahead.
The story is an enthralling mixture of realistic elements and fantasies that underlines its permanent themes: individual freedom, duty towards family and community, which keep the two in balance, sympathize with others and take responsibility for your own actions. The gentle narrative style conveys a whole range of emotions, from love to anger to fear, and the conclusion is both satisfying and real.
Overall rating: 4.25 (of 5)
- Weltanschauung / moral value: 4
- Artistic value: 4.5
The underlying spirituality is a mixture of Catholicism and Spiritism that may not be well received by Protestants, but is typical of the Latin American environment.
- Why did Max & # 39; mother leave her family? Was it a good reason or a selfish one?
- How does the story that Max tells in the end reflect his own story?
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