THE ENCOUNTER (ABP, 2013)
(Translated from the Spanish original by Elwin Wirkala)
Award winner in “Books into Movies” (2013)
The Encounter won second place in the 3rd edition of Books into Movies Award, the prestigious organization sponsored by Latino Literacy Now. The award-winning books were presented to major movie studios and producers.
The Encounter weaves a story of adventure, romance, immigration and the social realities of Latin America, beginning with the infamous dumping of toxic waste into the pristine Amazonian jungles of Ecuador by the Texaco oil company. While describing the origins of this crime, The Encounter is also the story of Rosa and Ernesto’s search for cultural and individual identity.
Review from El cultural, by Carmen Blazquez (El mundo, Madrid, 07/10/11)
⃰ ⃰ ⃰ ⃰ ⃰ 10/07/2011, El Cultural (Diario El Mundo, Madrid)
“Rite of passage travelogue, social criticism, denunciation of environmental disaster, these are some facets of this ambitious novel. The protagonists, developed on a double plot structure, are Ernesto, a mestizo youth adopted by a Spanish couple residing in San Diego, and Rosa, a Huaorani girl from Ecuador. The symmetries and vicissitudes experienced by each are interwoven in a narrative that brings them together for just one meeting on a single fleeting, splendid day. Ernesto travels from north to south in search of his origins, but what he finds is redemption for his adoptive father, who is implicated in the pollution of the rain forest. Rosa, for her part, leaves Amazonia behind and sets off northward in response to a call from her ailing mother, who immigrated, years before, to Oregon.Both itineraries, with attractive and convincing characters as center of gravity, inspire passion.”
ONE GENERATION’S CHOICES TAKES TWO TEENS ON A JOURNEY OF CONNECTION, by Ann Angel
When paths cross even briefly, our lives can change in surprising and important ways. For Ernesto, a mestizo youth adopted by a Spanish couple living in San Diego, and Rosa, a Huaorani girl from Ecuador, coming together for a single day leads to redemption and understanding. This novel takes readers on a journey that begins with Ernesto searching for his birth family to discover that his own rite of passage will weave together with a story of environmental disaster and reveal social and family issues that include finding the truth, seeking solutions and loving the imperfect people in our lives.In a parallel journey, Rosa leaves the Amazonia behind and sets off northward in response to a call from her ailing mother. The author portrays these characters with understanding and sympathy.
Rita Wirkala is an Argentine bilingual writer and a professor at the University of Washington. Her work has been published in Europe and the United States, and acclaimed by a major Spanish language newspaper. She writes young adult novels in Spanish and English, poetry, literary essays and school and homeschool textbooks. She is also a translator of children’s books, and composer of children’s songs, and the founder of All Bilingual Press.
The Encounter (ABP)Rita Wirkala $15ABP
TALES FOR “THE DREAMER” (HoopoBooks)
Tales for THE DREAMER follows the ancient tradition of telling stories within a story—as in Homer’s Odyssey, The Arabian Nights, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and India’s Mahabharata and Panchatantra. But unlike earlier collections, Tales for THE DREAMER has one foot in the past and the other in the future. While its frame story (the overarching tale that holds the others together) takes place in the year 2036, the stories within it date back hundreds of years and represent a genre that educators and psychologists say can offer benefits beyond the usual entertainment, provision of information and inculcation of moral. These “extra” benefits include a unique ability to foster social-emotional development, thinking skills and perception in readers of all ages. That’s why such tales—which once were a common feature of all cultures—are known as teaching-stories. The stories included in Tales for THE DREAMER were taken from a variety of sources such as the Masnavi, a book in verse by the thirteenth-century Persian poet Jalaluddin Rumi; The Arabian Nights (also known as One Thousand and One Nights); and Don Juan Manuel’s Tales of Count Lucanor, a fourteenth-century Spanish collection of Eastern origin also known as Book of the Examples of Count Lucanor and of Patronio. Many of these stories have also been retold in recent years by the author and educator Idries Shah, who specialized in collecting traditional tales of this kind (see www .idriesshahfoundation .org/books/ and www .hoopoebooks . com/teaching-stories-by-idries-shah/) . I used two main criteria in selecting stories for Tales for THE DREAMER: that they should be largely unknown by the general public, and that they can offer benefits beyond the usual entertainment or moral lessons.
The book is beautifully illustrated by the Argentinean artist Mónica Acosta Rodriguez.
Review by JonArno Lawson, award-winning author of The Playgrounds of Babel, Inklings, The Hobo’s Crowbar and other titles.
“Tales for THE DREAMER is a real page-turner. By setting it in the near future while making use of the best storytelling traditions from the past, Rita Wirkala has created something unique, enriching and thoroughly enjoyable for young adults and adults alike.”