Book Club Response 2

In Caminar right now, Carlos’s Grandma’s Village was bombed. Carlos managed to save everyone and get the to safety. It turns out the village doesn’t like his rebel friends and ask them to leave. One theme I’m seeing is that the people are slowly starting to hate the war. They don’t simply hate the army of the government, they hate the rebels too. They say it’s all the same and that they both are wrong.

One of the scenes my group did for my podcast was when Carlos’s mother was telling him that he had to run if the village ever went under attack. He didn’t want to hear it because he wanted to fight like a man. But his mother thought other wise and told him he has to run. This is important because it shows how he came to survive the war. This happens many times when his running saves his life and many others.

Another scene we did was when he was in the tree after his village was attacked. You can hear the fear and see what he was going through. We also did the one scene where he can hear the boom of the helicopter. You can’t tell if its bullets or a bomb and it almost leaves it up to the reader to decide. We felt this was important because it shocks the reader and you can tell it shocks him too.

Lastly we did the scene where Carlos meets Paco. It talks about how Paco is holding a mans weapon. It scares Carlos but it shows Paco’s point of view and you can tell it scares him too. They are the same age and lived very different lives up to that point. Carlos has just been introduced to the war while Paco has been living in it for a while as a rebel. They are still young boys though. Their thinking is alike, and they are both scared.

Caminar is about the civil war that happened in Guatemala from 1960 to 1996. The book takes place in the 1980’s which was an especially brutal time in the war. Some of the war cruelty included bombing villages, attacking fleeing residents, impaling victims, burning people alive, severing limbs, slashing open wounds in pregnant women, and so much more. It’s said the government was responsible for 90% of deaths, disappearances, and other human right violations.

The war started because Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas was against the democratic president at the time. He overthrew the current president and made it so illiterate Guatemalans couldn’t vote. Colonel Armas also reversed land reforms that helped the farmers. The left-wing started fighting against the government. It was marked by abductions and violence, this includes mutilations and public dumping of bodies. 1966 a new ruler for the people became president, but this only worsen matters. Trying to reconstruct the government left the army with a major counterinsurgency campaign.

An estimated 200,000 people died in Guatemala, and 40,000 people who “dissapeared”. This left a huge impact on the people of Guatemala. They still feel the impacts today.

Avery Takahashi A2


Book Club Response 1

First, a quick recap of Caminar by Skila Brown. This story follows around a little boy named Carlos. He is living in Guatemala during the time of a civil war. The army is against the rebels. As the story goes on, Carlos is separated from his mom. He tries to find a way to his grandma’s house, with hopes to meet her there. On the way, Carlos finds a group of rebels. Three adults and a child his age. They take him in and they travel together for the time being.

Skila Brown, the author of Caminar, is a women from Kentucky and Tennessee. She has visited Guatemala many times and wrote about it. She actually wrote this book for a homework assignment while she was getting her MFA. While she grew up, her family sponsored Vietnamese refugees. Surrounded by those who were running from war, she saw a different side of life. She felt like there needed to be more books showing the wars going on. Skila wanted the children of America to gain more knowledge of what was going on in different parts of the world. She describes her experience here:

As for the end of the book, I think Carlos will find his way to the Army. He will be caught up in the war that is going on. I think it was pretty predictable that Carlos was separated from his mom, but I wasn’t expecting him to run into a rebel group and befriend them.