Monday, March 9, 2015

Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal.

Engle, Margarita.  Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal.  Houghton Mifflin/Harcourt Brace  2014  260  $18.00  ISBN 978-0-5441-0941-4 jr/sr  Historical fiction in verse  E-BN 

The historical significance of the building of the Panama Canal one hundred years ago runs much deeper than just an event connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.  The construction of the canal is about racism, segregation, cruel treatment of laborers, and the stories that have been buried along with the men who died during the building of the canal.  In this historical fiction, the author focuses on the workers who came with hope in their hearts for better jobs and money in their pockets, only to find deplorable working conditions.  It is through those workers that we learn the real story behind the construction of the Panama Canal.
Each verse adds to the richness of
the storytelling as the horror begins to develop, and their hopes and dreams die on every cliff that crumbles as they excavate the ground to build what will one day be a historical miracle uniting one ocean with another.         

Summary: This is a historical fiction about the construction of the Panama Canal in Panama, told in poetic verse.  The story is told by the workers who came to Panama looking for a good job but found more poverty and racism. 

Panama Canal-Poetry, History-Poetry                   --Magna Diaz

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