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From the Abuelas' Window by Nancy Toomey

From the Abuelas' Window

by Nancy Toomey

196 pages
Love and magic change a family's fate in Pinochet's Chile.

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Category: Fiction:Young Adult
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About the Book

It is Chile, 1974. Pinochet has taken over the presidential palace and the government far away in Santiago. The village school in a remote farming community has been closed and converted into a detention center for political prisoners. Maribel, a young girl in the village, is protected by her mother from the truth about her father who is among the prisoners but has been moved to an unknown place.

Three nosy old neighbors, the abuelas, love to peek out their window and watch Maribel and her sisters play innocent games in their mother's beautiful garden. They are rumored to have strange, magical powers, but stubborn and restless Maribel doesn't believe the rumors. She just wants her Papa, who she believes is visiting sick relatives, back so her mother doesn't depend on the abuelas for help.

A gift from the abuelas sets the story in motion and in a curiosity-driven moment, Maribel learns the truth about her father. The gift, an old red bicycle, takes her beyond the confines of her mother's garden and into the reality her mother can no longer keep from her.

Maribel responds by helping her mother bring food to the prisoners in her old school. She keeps a list of names of the innocent, hoping somewhere, someone is doing the same for her father.

The military comes in force to their village. Others are arrested, including Maribel's mother. The sisters discover a young girl, Sandra, hiding in their orchard. Her parents have been taken. Books are burned, songs are banned, but the village festival is held as usual, although under the watchful eye of the captain of the guard.

Maribel and her sisters take the power of love and magic, learned from the crafty old abuelas, into their own hands to change the course of fate for their family, their friends and a group of innocent strangers. Someone, somewhere, does the same for Papa.


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About the Author
Nancy Toomey Nancy Toomey is a writer, an educator, a former marketing director and a student of anthropology. Her interest in other cultures and the stories of people who come to the United States to begin a new life are reflected in her work. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey with her husband, three children and her dog, Fern. From the Abuelas' Window is her first novel.



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