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Spring 2020 Kids Indie Next List
“A young boy seeking answers about his missing mother finds himself on a perilous journey to help someone in danger, a trek that will test his strength, courage, and determination. Pam Muñoz Ryan spins a beautiful tale, lightly brushed with magic, that speaks to the heart and reverberates with issues faced by contemporary society.”
— Betsy Covert, The Toadstool Bookshop - Keene, Keene, NH
"Uniquely magical...Timely and timeless." -- New York Times
* "This tightly packed, powerful fantasy contains resonant truths." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Another unforgettable work from a master storyteller." -- Booklist, starred review
* "Richly tiered... wrenchingly real...compelling." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A gem of a story with timely messages." -- School Library Journal
"Rich and relevant." -- The Horn Book
"A luminous embodiment of hope." -- Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery Honor-winning author of One Crazy Summer and Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
"Mañanaland is that rare gift of a book." -- Francisco X. Stork, award-winning author of Disappeared
Maximiliano Córdoba loves stories, especially the legend Buelo tells him about a mythical gatekeeper who can guide brave travelers on a journey into tomorrow.
If Max could see tomorrow, he would know if he'd make Santa Maria's celebrated fútbol team and whether he'd ever meet his mother, who disappeared when he was a baby. He longs to know more about her, but Papá won't talk. So when Max uncovers a buried family secret--involving an underground network of guardians who lead people fleeing a neighboring country to safety--he decides to seek answers on his own.
With a treasured compass, a mysterious stone rubbing, and Buelo's legend as his only guides, he sets out on a perilous quest to discover if he is true of heart and what the future holds.
This timeless tale of struggle, hope, and the search for tomorrow has much to offer today about compassion and our shared humanity.
About the Author
"Ryan has created a world of enchantment that is both innately familiar and uniquely magical... Readers will be led into every rocky corner and wondrous ledge of Ryan's world through her vivid use of imagery, which keeps readers present on every page. She weaves so much relevant lyricism into this small, meaningful volume... 'Mañanaland manages to be both timely and timeless." -- New York Times
* "Ryan beautifully layers thought-provoking topics onto her narrative while keeping readers immersed in the story's world. Although set in the fictional country of Santa Maria, "somewhere in the Américas," the struggles of refugee immigrants and the compassion of those who protect the travelers feel very relevant. This tightly packed, powerful fantasy contains resonant truths." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Evocative and dreamlike writing...authentic characters...impeccable pacing....This story, infused with magic, reminds children that humanity thrives when people embrace differences and construct bridges instead of borders. Another unforgettable work from a master storyteller." -- Booklist, starred review
* "This richly tiered novel is, at its core, wrenchingly real... Newbery Honoree Ryan (Echo) infuses the soccer-loving boy's story with mystery based on local myth, closely guarded secrets, and a missing birth certificate. Lyrical allusions to the heartbreaking reality of life under repressive regimes and Max's belief in the promise of tomorrow fuse the title and plot of this compelling novel." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "A richly satisfying novel that is both contemporary and timeless... The author seamlessly weaves into Max's journey important themes about asylum seekers and the people who help them." -- Shelf Awareness, starred review
"As always, Ryan's strength is in her visually expressive language... Poignant, memorable moments are created with just a few sentences... A gem of a story with timely messages... a required purchase." -- School Library Journal
"The fictional...setting and the promise of...Mañanaland make for an easier lens with which to view the refugee crisis for young readers, who may gain a greater understanding of real problems happening across the world through Max's tale." -- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Book
"Mañanaland now, more than ever, in this riveting testament to heroism and compassion as only master storyteller Pam Muñoz Ryan can divine and deliver. "A luminous embodiment of hope." -- Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery Honor-winning author of One Crazy Summer and Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
"Mañanaland is that rare gift of a book. It blends dream and truth into an enthralling fantasy that quietly shows us what it is like to be unwanted, searching for a place to belong. It is a story about choosing the very difficult path of kindness and courage, and about the faith of knowing with all our hearts that this is the path we all must take." -- Francisco X. Stork, award-winning author of Disappeared
"On the edge of fantasy and reality, Pam Munoz Ryan weaves an encouraging tale for those who seek refuge and the promise of a bright tomorrow... This would be an inspiring title for elementary and even middle school library to have in their collections to appeal to those readers who, like Max, are embarking on their own path to self-discovery." -- School Library Connection, Recommended
"Ryan skillfully balances Max's day-to-day concerns with his longing for his mother and his growing awareness of a moral responsibility to help others... rich and relevant." -- The Horn Book