From Another World

by Ana Maria Machado

Brazilian writer Ana Maria Machado has written a lush historical fantasy that explores... read more

Brazilian writer Ana Maria Machado has written a lush historical fantasy that explores the legacy of slavery in Latin America through the eyes of four contemporary children. While their parents work on turning the buildings of an old coffee plantation into a bed-and-breakfast for tourists, Mariano, Leo, Elisa, and Teresa spend time roaming the various barns and outbuildings. One night, the spirit of a young girl appears in their bedroom. She is the ghost of a slave who once lived on the plantation. Rosario died watching her family and hundreds of others perish a in a fire caused by the plantation’s ruthless owner. As Rosario visits night after night, the children learn what it was like to live as a slave, which leads them to reflect on how race continues to impact their lives. Rosario wants Mariano to write her story down so others understand—and indeed, it is Mariano’s hesitant, self-conscious voice that narrates the story. But Rosario also longs to know what happened to her brother, who had escaped the night of the fire. The children must piece together the parts of the story that Rosario can’t complete by asking Leo and Elisa’s grandmother to talk about their family history. The tension mounts as the details their grandmother reveals connect their own lives to the tragic events in the past. (Ages 9–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2006

show less