2.17.2011

The Walls of Cartagena


By Julia Durango 
Illustrated by Tom Pohrt

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
July 2008

On his thirteenth birthday, Father Pedro asks Calepino to assist him with the slaves coming into Cartagena. Although born on a slave ship, up until now Calepino has been blessed with good fortune. But soon he's fighting seasickness, living in squalor, and cursing every minute.

Then he meets Mara and Tomi, a mother and son who remind him of his own past. When they are sold to a cruel man, Calepino is determined to find a way to save them. Will this be his chance to change someone else’s fortune, or will he put them all in more peril?

Richly detailed and researched, Julia Durango's gripping first novel brings to life what it means to be truly free.


“Based on real historical characters, this fictionalized account offers both well-researched detail on a buried chapter in the African slave saga and a clever young hero.” —Kirkus Reviews


"...the ultimate rescue adventure is gripping, but more compelling is the authentic history of people desperate and brave." ~ Booklist


  • A Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable Book
  • Am√©ricas Award Honorable Mention
  • Garden State Children's Book Award Nominee

Teacher Guide by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer


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Buy the book

If your local bookstore does not have this book on the shelf, they should be able to order it for you. To find an independent bookseller near you, check 
IndieBound (US only).


Book Mouse, our wonderful independent bookstore in Ottawa, Illinois, has autographed copies and can ship them to you. Be sure to note in the comment section that you would like a signed copy.

You can also order it directly from Simon and Schuster or online retailers like 
Amazon and Barnes & Noble

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