Sense of Place Stars: El Salvador

Fiction and Nonfiction Titles

Annotations are from Advance, the Ingram Book Magazine, unless noted.


  • A Shot in the Cathedral
    Author: Benecastro, Mario
    Publisher: Arte $ 18.95 ISBN: 155885164X Date: 1996
    Not a propagandistic nor partisan view of the civil war in El Salvador, A Shot in the Cathedral is remarkable for its sensitivity, restraint and poetic vision of the tragic and inhuman events and actions that polarized not only the people of that Central American nation but also those of the United States, Latin America and Europe
    Updated 12.5.05
  • Bitter Grounds
    Benitez, Sandra
    Publisher: Hyperion List Price: $ 22.95 ISBN: 0786861576 Date: 1997
    From the author of A Place Where the Sea Remembers comes a powerful saga chronicling three generations of Salvadoran women who are connected by a scorching secret. When finally a letter comes to light that has remained unopened for 26 years, its impact resounds in uneexpected ways. Epic in scope, richly steeped in history, as well as bringing to life the emotions and experiences of those who lived through these cataclysmic times, Benitez's poetic yet unsentimental novel will move and astonish its readers.
    Suggested Reading: Latino/Latina Stars
  • The Weight of All Things
    Author: Benitez, Sandra
    Publisher: Hyperion $ 22.95 ISBN: 0786863994 Date: 2001
    The last time young Nicholas saw his mother, she was hit by gunfire in a crowded plaza while attending the funeral of a martyred archbishop in war-torn El Salvador. Watching her body dragged away with other victims, Nicholas believes his mother is alive, and vows to find her. Thus begins the young boy's harrowing journey through his war-ravaged country.
    Suggested Reading: Latino/Latina Stars
    Updated 1/17/01
  • A Book of Common Prayer
    Author: Didion, Joan
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster $ 8.95 ISBN: 0671224913 Date: 1977
    In this Conradian masterpiece of American innocence and evil set in the fictional Central American country of Boca Grande, two American women face the harsh realities, political and personal, of living on the edge in a land with an uncertain future. Writing with her signature telegraphic swiftness, the author creates a terrifying commentary on an age of conscienceless authority.
    Updated 12.5.05
  • A Fire in the Earth
    Author: Villatoro, Marcos McPeek
    Publisher: Arte $ 24.95 ISBN: 1558850945 Date: 1996
    This moving novel captures the trials of El Salvador during the first three decades of this century, setting the stage for the tragedies of the last twenty years. Fast-paced, yet poetic, this epic novel is a monument to the people of El Salvador and a page turner that invites no interruption. - Publisher Marketing.
    Updated 12.5.05
  • Ah, Treachery!
    Author: Thomas, Ross
    Publisher: Mysterious $ 21.95 ISBN: 0892964529 Date: 1994
    From the author the New York Times Book Review called "America's best storyteller" comes a new novel of intrigue, deception, politics and passion that stretches from Sheridan, Wyoming, to L.A., to El Salvador, to the power corridors of the Democratic Party. Acclaimed author Thomas also wrote Voodoo, Ltd., Out on the Rim and 20 other novels.
    Updated 12.5.05


  • The Massacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold War
    Author: Danner, Mark
    Publisher: Vintage $ 13.95 ISBN: 067975525x Date: 1994
    In December 1981 soldiers of the Salvadoran Army's select, American-trained Atlacatl Battalion entered the village of El Mozote, where they murdered hundreds of men, women, and children, often by decapitation. Although reports of the massacre -- and photographs of its victims -- appeared in the United States, the Reagan administration quickly dismissed them as propaganda. In the end, El Mozote was forgotten. The war in El Salvador continued, with American funding.
    When Mark Danner's reconstruction of these events first appeared in "The New Yorker", it sent shock waves through the news media and the American foreign-policy establishment. Now Danner has expanded his report into a brilliant book, adding new material as well as the actual sources. He has produced a masterpiece of scrupulous investigative journalism that is also a testament to the forgotten victims of a neglected theater of the cold war.
    Updated 12.5.05
  • Still in Love in Strange Places: A Memoir
    Author: Kephart, Beth
    Publisher: Norton $ 24.95 ISBN: 0393050742 Date: 2002
    "An exquisite gift, a poet's text on love, travel, spiritual sustenance, and the dark magic of El Salvador." - Publisher Marketing.
    Updated 12.27.05

For Younger Readers

  • Grab Hands and Run
    Author: Temple, Frances
    Publisher: Orchard $ 15.95 ISBN: 0531054802 Date: 1993
    Star Image SLJ
    Felipe is 12, his sister Romy eight, when his father "disappears" from home in El Salvador. The children and their young mother flee for their lives but to new troubles as refugees in Guatemala, then Mexico, Texas, and at last Wisconsin. This work of fiction was inspired by the stories of a Salvadoran family who lived with the author's family while waiting for Canadian citizenship.
    Grades: 5+ Category: Fiction


Seeing Stars

Annotated lists of books receiving at least one starred review from one of four major review sources: Booklist, Kirkus, LJ and PW.

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