Aida Salazar

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September 2020, Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 256 pp

This free verse middle grade novel, inspired in part by the author’s own childhood as an undocumented immigrant, tells the story of 9-year-old Betita, who believes that she and other migrants follow an Aztec prophecy to fly as free as cranes. When her father is deported to Mexico and she and her mother are detained by ICE, she turns to writing picture poems as her own way to fly above the deplorable conditions that she and other cranes experience while they are caged. Betita ends up leading other detainees in a picture poem campaign that goes viral on social media and helps to bring improved change to the conditions inside the detention center and the release of some of the cranes.


KIRKUS – “An emotional and powerful story with soaring poetry.”

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY – “Salazar’s lyrical verse fashions empowerment out of indignity and suffering, creating a stirring and accessible, all-too-timely story.”

SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL – “A highly original work that deserves a place in all libraries, this look at detention and deportation of undocumented people in the United States is sure to stay with readers of all ages.”