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Sacred Leaf by Deborah Ellis

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The people of Bolivia have grown coca for legitimate purposes for hundreds of years, but the demands of America`s War on Drugs now threaten this way of life. Deborah Ellis`s searing follow-up to the highly praised I Am a Taxi deals with this frank reality. After he manages to escape from virtual enslavement in an illegal cocaine operation, Diego is taken in by the Ricardo family. These poor coca farmers give Diego a safe haven where he recovers from his ordeal in the jungle. But the army soon moves in and destroys the family`s coca crop — their livelihood. So Diego joins the cocaleros as they protest the destruction of their crops and confront the army head-on by barricading the roads. While tension between the cocaleros and the army builds to a dramatic climax, Diego wonders whether he will ever find a way to return to his family. This compelling novel defies conventional wisdom on an important issue, and shows how people in one part of the world unknowingly create hardship for people in another.

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