Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Review: The Weaver's Daughter by Sylvia Patience


by Sylvia Patience
Desert Plain Press
Middle Grade
192 pages
ages 8 to 12

“Sometimes people disappear into the North and are never heard from again.” When her papá doesn’t return, twelve year old Ixchel, a Maya from the Yucatan, resolves to leave home and make her way across the treacherous border into the United States to find him. Chel relies on an inexperienced smuggler and faces unknown dangers in a border tunnel. Frightened but resourceful, she is driven by hope, love for her father, and her dream of going to school.
“Ixchel’s story, told with honesty and sympathy, will stir readers’ hearts.”-Eve Bunting, award winning author of more than 250 children’s books.
The Weaver's Daughter is the winner of a Moonbeam Children's Book Awards bronze medal



Honesty and emotions make this a read, which draws in and leaves a lasting impression.

Ixchel is a young girl, and a Maya from the Yucatan, whose father immigrated to the US years before, leaving her with her grandmother and mother. Her mother, though, is always lost in her weaving, but Ixchel helps as much as she can by selling them at the market. When her mother has a vision, telling her to send Ixchel to the US, Ixchel is more than apprehensive. Together with her friend, Chel, she sets out on a dangerous journey with a smuggler to get to the US and find her father.

It's hard not to sympathize with Ixchel and root for her from beginning to end. Her character is as as rich as her culture, and her heart beams with determination and kindness. Still, she's understandably nervous and careful. Even the first pages with her draw in and make the reader wish they could meet her in person.

The culture and experiences in these pages make it worth a read and are excellent for anyone wanting to dive into the problems immigrants face when trying to get into the US. It displays the emotions naturally and honestly. While this is presented as a middle grade novel, there are several events and scenes which do not fit the age group and are appropriate for the young adult audience and above. However, the character depth, writing and flow is more appropriate for a younger audience. But older readers interested in the subject matter will enjoy reading this tale quite a bit.

The pacing rolls along quickly and keeps the reader in the pages. The author allows Ixchel's home to take root over more than a couple chapters in the beginning, and gives the reader a very good glance into her life, the reasons she leaves, and what it took to prepare the journey first. I found that building this end up as well really added a lot to Ixchel and her tale. It's definitely an intriguing read.

Learn more about Sylvia at her website:

As a member of SCBWI, I attend conferences, and participate in critique groups. One of my short fairy tales won an international Hans Christian Andersen first prize. The Weaver’s Daughter won best first page at an SCBWI conference. I've published articles in professional nursing and midwifery journals, poems in journals and anthologies, and an earlier middle grade book, Toto’s Tale and True Chronicle of Oz. I lived in Mexico for several years and have worked with immigrants from Mexico and Central America. I conduct groups and presentations in English and Spanish with adults and children of all ages.

1 comment:

Sylvia Patience said...

Thanks Tonja for the thoughtful review.