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Diego, run!

by Deborah Ellis

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296622,914 (3.46)None
Diego lives in a prison in Cochabamba, Bolivia. His parents are locked up, but he is free to come and go: to school and to the market, and running errands for other prisoners. But the future looks grim unless he can make money fast. His friend Mando has a plan to make them a fortune, but they hit terrible trouble and Diego must risk everything if he wants to see his family again. Suggested level: secondary.… (more)

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Novel. This story fallows the life of Diego, a child who lives in a jail cell with his mom (and dad when he goes to the men’s jail) and little sister in Bolivia. His parent were framed for transporting coco paste and now are in jail but the kids are allowed to be there with them. Diego is what’s called a Taxi meaning he does jobs like taking mail to the post office or get materials for his mom for money. He is allowed to do this because he himself is not a prisoner. Anyways, one day his friend Mado tells him he could make serious money that would help his mom in just two weeks. Diego is hesitant and thinks about it but after an incident where he loses his sister momentarily and his mom has to pay a big fine he agrees to go. Diego, Mando, and three random people go with these two successful looking men and they take them deep into the Bolivian jungle where they are forced into hard labor to create coco paste. After a while Diego and Mando cpdevise a plan to get out but it doesn’t go well and Mando gets shot and killed. Diego keeps on running killing the head of the opperation and finally stumbles across a home where the family brings him in, gives him a hot mean and a place to sleep for the night. ( )
  Nick1009 | Sep 11, 2018 |
Diego lives with his Mum and little sister in a women’s prison in Bolivia (South America). His parents are both in prison after being wrongly accused of smuggling drugs. Bolivia has a large heroin problem.

After an accident in the prison where Diego forgets to look after his sister, he decided to leave with his friend who promises lots of money for little work. They are taken deep into the Amazon jungle, and are forced to process cocaine. Life becomes a nightmare.

Diego and his friend try to escape and steal some cocaine, but his friend falls from a bridge to his death. Diego is taken away. He is about to be forced to smuggle cocaine when he makes a run for it. He is tracked through the jungle and finds safety with a family.

Very easy to read. An interesting look into the drug trade, prison and street life/poverty in a different country. ( )
  dalzan | Apr 21, 2013 |
Diego is 12. He lives with his mother and baby sister in San Sebastian Women's Prison in Cochabamba, Bolivia. His father is in the adjacent Men's prison. Although Diego lives in the prison, he is free to come and go to the Post Office, the market and to school. His farming parents were incorrectly blamed for a drug-related crime and unjustly imprisoned. Diego constantly dreams of going home to their hill farm whilst he is trying to earn money working as a "taxi", running errands for other prisoners.
The money Diego earns is important for the family's survival because they must pay to rent a cell and a bed. The prisoners are also responsible for providing other things for their wellbeing such as extra food.
An unfortunate incident occurs when Diego's little sister runs away when he becomes distracted when he supposed to be looking after her. After the chaos that follows, Diego's mother is fined and he is banned from working. Disillusioned and desperate, Diego is vulnerable to the suggestion by his friend, Mando, that they take a job that will earn big money, quickly.
Initially believing that they will have 2 weeks work, the boys find themselves, along with some other street kids, in a nightmare situation. They are forced into working for an illegal cocaine operation, deep in the jungle. They are starved, subjected to brutality and trapped in drug addiction, when given cocaine-laced cigarettes to keep them going.

Diego begins to suspect that they will not be paid and may be killed instead and battles both the main drug trafficker and the jungle to survive. ( )
  Rhondda | May 26, 2008 |
Deborah Ellis is a superb writer for young adults, and her newest work does not disappoint. Moving her attention from the plight of children in Afghanistan, she now looks to Bolivia. Also titled 'I am a Taxi', DIEGO, RUN! tells the story of twelve year old Diego whose parents have been wrongfully jailed for drug smuggling. He and his baby sister live in the women's prison with their mother. The children of the prisoners are free to come and go. Diego uses this freedom to become a ‘taxi’ running errands and selling produce in the city for the prisoners. A position of great trust.

His friend Mando, another prison child, comes up with a get rich quick scheme, convincing Diego that they can make easier money by going off to work for two men for just two weeks. Despite his misgivings Diego follows Mando, and the two boys find themselves trapped stomping coca leaves in cocaine pits in the jungle.

This is a very quick book – easy to read and riveting. Diego is a very strong character with firm principles and a quick mind. This heart-wrenching adventure story tells a story which rings true as it looks at corruption in Bolivia, the treatment of minors, and the cocaine trade. Author Deborah Ellis has written a note at the end of the book giving a brief history of Bolivia, and facts about children and the cocaine trade. There is also a glossary. ( )
  sally906 | Jan 8, 2008 |
Diego, run! By Deborah Ellis (also published under title ‘I am a taxi’ in Canada)

Description

For twelve-year-old Diego, home is a prison in Cochabamba, Bolivia. His parents are locked up, but he is free to come and go: to school, to the market to sell his mother's hand-knitted goods, and to work as a 'taxi', running errands for the prisoners. But when his little sister runs away and his mother receives a heavy fine, Diego has to make big money, fast. His friend Mando has a plan...Lured by the promise of riches, Diego and Mando are soon deep in the jungle and far from home. Forced to manufacture cocaine in terrible conditions, Diego must risk everything if he wants to see his family again.Deborah Ellis has used her investigative skills, her strong social conscience and her gift for storytelling to turn a complex situation into a rip-roaring, heart-wrenching adventure.
--------------------------------------------------​

Staff Review

Diego lives in a Bolivian prison, with his mother and younger sister. His parents were wrongly convicted of drug smuggling, and are locked up for many years, but Diego is free to go to school and to run errands. When he loses his sister one night and causes a great fuss that results in his mother being heavily fined, he needs to come up with money quickly. Persuaded by his best friend to take a job, Diego finds himself caught up in the brutal and nasty business of cocaine manufacturing. A fast-paced novel for Ellis' many fans, with a sequel to follow.
Ages 11-14.
Lindy

Deborah Ellis has written an outstanding book titled “I am a Taxi”. She has once again used the children or child surviving on their own or in a dangerous situation. Diego, a twelve year old boy lives with his mother and three year old sister Corina. They live in the Women’s Prison located Cochabamba, Bolivia, while his father lives in the men’s. Diego helps out his mom by being a “Taxi” to the other prisoners. He runs throughout the city doing odd jobs for them . He would also do the homework of his rich classmates, for a price. Diego’s friend Mando soon has a quick money making scheme in which they will be working with two strange men in the jungle. When Diego and Mando end up in the jungle, they find out they are part of these men’s plan to make and smuggle cocaine. Can Diego survive in the jungle? This is a brilliant book about survival, perseverance and a boy with a giant heart.

ELLIS, Deborah Diego, run!
This is a true-to-life adventure story about Diego, a gutsy twelve year old Bolivian boy, living in a Bolivian women’s prison with his mother and little sister while his father is in the men’s prison. The prison is cramped but, unlike his mother, Diego is free to come and go: to school, to the market to sell his mother’s knitted handiwork, and to work as a ‘taxi’, running errands for people for tiny earnings. When his sister runs away under his care, his mother receives a heavy fine, and Diego reluctantly follows his friend into a partnership with suspicious men who promise him big money. Deep in the jungle Diego and other boys are forced to manufacture cocaine under terrible conditions. At this point, the story becomes fast-paced and compelling. The story is shocking but also brings out Diego’s strength of character and strong love of family beyond his years.
Deborah Ellis reveals the story behind the coca plant, its cultural and spiritual significance for the Bolivians, and the disastrous consequences of the cocaine trade for innocent Bolivian coca farmers.
The sequel is called Sacred leaf. Published as I am a taxi in Canada.
Themes: Bolivia. Boys. Cleverness. Cruelty. Drugs. Friendship. Jungles. Persistence. Violence.

Twelve-year-old Diego works as a "taxi", running errands for his mother and other inmates of the San Sebastián Women's Prison in Cochabamba, Bolivia. There he shares a cell with her and his little sister (which his mother has to pay for) and although cramped, smelly and claustrophobic it is better than the two children living on the streets fending for themselves. Although Diego's earnings are tiny he ignores his best friend's urgings to come away for a few weeks and earn big money — until the day he fails to watch over his little sister carefully and she is lost in the prison for hours. The disruption is such that his mother is fined and Diego knows that all he has earned is not enough to pay it. Against his better judgement he goes with his friend and finds himself involved in the cocaine trade. Back breaking tireless work in the jungle at the mercy of hard men who have no intention of paying the boys.
A convincing story that shocks, Diego, Run!, nonetheless shows the strength of character and the love of family that propels a young boy into taking on responsibilities beyond his years. Diego's story will have a sequel.

Themes in this book:
Bolivia. Boys. Cleverness. Cruelty. Drugs. Friendship. Jungles. Persistence. Violence and non-violence.

This book Diego, Run! is about a boy named Diego. His parents are both locked up. His father’s in the men’s prison, and his mother in the women’s prison in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Diego lives with his sister, Corina, and his mother in the women’s prison.
Diego is lucky to be let out of the prison to go to school and to the markets. He also works as ‘taxi’ doing jobs for prisoners. Everything’s fine till Diego thinks his sister, Corina, has been kidnapped. Diego searches for her but during his search he causes chaos. Because of an accident Diego is banned from being a ‘taxi’. He now has no money to pay for all the problems he caused.
His friend Mando was offered a job in the jungle. Diego is pressured into going into the jungle as well. Mando promised they would be gone for two weeks and when they came back they would be rich. Diego would then be able to pay back the money he owed. Mando was wrong…
I really enjoyed this book but the ending was a disappointment. It wasn’t an ending it was more of a stop. At the end of the book it mentions a new sequel; Sacred Leaf. I look forward to reading the next book, but it was a shame that Deborah Ellis didn’t finish the first story in a more satisfying way. ( )
  tsheko | Oct 15, 2007 |
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Diego lives in a prison in Cochabamba, Bolivia. His parents are locked up, but he is free to come and go: to school and to the market, and running errands for other prisoners. But the future looks grim unless he can make money fast. His friend Mando has a plan to make them a fortune, but they hit terrible trouble and Diego must risk everything if he wants to see his family again. Suggested level: secondary.

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