Nominated by:

Ottawa Public Library, Canada

Publisher of nominated edition:

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, USA

The Jaguar’s Children

John Vaillant      

2017 Longlist

Hector is trapped. The water truck, sealed to hide its human cargo, has broken down. The coyotes have taken all the passengers’ money for a mechanic and have not returned.

Hector finds a name in his friend Cesar’s phone: Annimac. A name with an American number. He must reach her, both for rescue and to pass along the message Cesar has come so far to deliver. But are his messages going through?

Over four days, as water and food run low, Hector tells how he came to this desperate place. His story takes us from Oaxaca — its rich culture, its rapid change — to the dangers of the border, exposing the tangled ties between Mexico and El Norte. And it reminds us of the power of storytelling and the power of hope, as Hector fights to ensure his message makes it out of the truck and into the world.

Both an outstanding suspense novel and an arresting window into the relationship between two great cultures, The Jaguar’s Children shows how deeply interconnected all of us, always, are.

(from publisher)

About the Author

John Vaillant’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, the Atlantic, National Geographic, and Outside, among other magazines. His two previous, award-winning books, The Tiger and The Golden Spruce, were international bestsellers.

Librarian’s Comments

Vaillant’s first book of fiction continues to reveal his strong writing style. The story of smuggled people across the US-Mexican border inhumanely stuck inside an empty water truck with 13 others, it vividly conveys the brutal reality of this kind of human journey looking for a better and safer life. Out readers loved it – the immediacy, the power of the storytelling, the suspense, the inherent courage of the characters and the writing.

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