Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

I Am a Taxi by Deborah Ellis

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I Am a Taxi by Deborah Ellis

Groundwood Books, 2006

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 and were mistakenly convicted of drug possession. 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, workingas 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.

Awards and nominations

  • Selected, Cooperative Children's Book Center Choice (2007)
  • Nominee, SYRCA Snow Willow Award (2007)
  • Winner, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award (2007)
  • Shortlisted, Manitoba Young Reader's Choice Award (2008)
  • Starred Selection, CCBC Our Choice (2007)
  • Honour Book, CLA Book of the Year for Children Award (2007)
  • Selected, White Ravens (2007)
  • Nominated, YALSA Best Books for Young Adults (2007)
  • Shortlisted, Alberta Children's Choice Book Award (2008)
  • Nominee, OLA Golden Oak Award (2008)
  • Selected, SSLI Honor Book Award (2007)

From the catalogue. Read more about I Am a Taxi at the Groundwood Books website.