I Am A Taxi

For twelve-year-old Diego and his family, home is the San Sebastian Women’s Prison in Cochabamba, Bolivia. His parents farmed coca, a traditional Bolivian medicinal plant, until they got caught in the middle of the government’s war on drugs. Diego’s parents are locked up, but he can come and go to school, to the market to sell his mother’s hand-knitted goods, and to work as a “taxi,” running errands for other prisoners. But then his little sister runs away, earning his mother a heavy fine. The debt and dawning realization of his hopeless situation make him vulnerable to his friend Mando’s plan to make big money, fast. Soon, Diego is deep in the jungle, working as a virtual slave in an illegal cocaine operation. As his situation becomes more and more dangerous, he knows he must take a terrible risk if he ever wants to see his family again.

Related: Bolivia, Intermediate (ages 9-14), Realistic Fiction

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