Monday, September 17, 2012

The Queen of Water

 The Queen of Water by Laura Rasau and Maria Virginia Farinango

Meet Virginia.  She is an Indigenous child in Ecuador who at the age of seven is given to a Mestizo family to care for their child.  Virginia's childhood is over quickly as she is forced to cook, clean and babysit while locked in the apartment all day.  She expects to be paid for her services and to be able to visit her family on weekends but what happens is quite different.  She is beaten on a regular basis, treated with racial insults, and never paid or allowed to see her family.  As Virginia grows older she realizes she has forgotten her language and the faces of her family.  She is caught in the web of domestic slavery and held in fear.

Eventually the people begin to trust Virginia and that is when she teaches herself to read and write.  When she is locked in the house all day she studies and makes plans to leave or call her sister.  Virginia is strong and sprited and in some ways is comfortable where she is, with a TV, food, a bed of her own and other luxuries.  But she has dreams, big dreams of becoming a singer or actress, dreams of freedom and love, dreams of becoming an educated women.  It's these dreams that force Virginia to hatch a plan of escape.
The Queen of Water is a great story of a resilient teen who is able to achieve her dreams.  It is based on a true story so it makes the reader aware of the plight of young children who are forced into slavery.  People my not realize that there are more people in slavery today than when it was legal 200 years ago.  Children are a big part of the slave trade today. Many parents are tricked and think they are sending their children to a better way of life when in reality they are suffering everyday, caught in the web of slavery and just want to come home.  Except they don't know where home is or how to speak the language and they are culturally changed and feel lost.  Some parents actually sell their children to slave traders.  It is a sad situation in our world and thankfully authors like Resau are bringing world wide issues like domestic slavery to the forefront.
The Queen of Water is about courage and the drive to make your life better no matter the circumstances.  Resau collaborated with Laura Virginia Farinango after learning her story and has written an important book that will appeal to readers of all ages and cultures.