The Queen of Water by Laura Resau

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An ALA Amelia Bloomer Selection
An ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book

Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her village of indígenas, it is not uncommon to work in the fields all day, even as a child, or to be called a longa tonta—stupid Indian—by members of the ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. When seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her village to be a servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the future holds.
In this poignant novel based on a true story, acclaimed author Laura Resau has collaborated with María Virginia Farinango to recount one girl's unforgettable journey to self-discovery. Virginia's story will speak to anyone who has ever struggled to find his or her place in the world. It will make you laugh and cry, and ultimately, it will fill you with hope.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Laura Resau

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Laura Resau lived in the Mixtec region of Oaxaca, Mexico, for two years as an English teacher and anthropologist. She now lives with her husband, her dog, and her son Bran in Colorado, where she teaches cultural anthropology and ESL (English as a Second Language). She is also the author of What the Moon Saw and Red Glass. María Virginia Farinango has acted in a television movie, had her own radio show, performed traditional dance, run an Andean craft business, and traveled throughout Asia, Europe, and North America. She is studying psychology and has recently started a small holistic day spa in Otavalo, Ecuador, where she lives with her husband and their young son. For more about María Virginia, please visit
Published March 8, 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers. 370 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Parenting & Relationships, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The riveting tale of an indigenous Ecuadorian girl being sent away from her family to work for a middle-class mestizo (of Spanish heritage) couple, this collaborative novel by teen author Resau and Farinango is based on the life story of the latter.

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Publishers Weekly

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This compelling collaboration between Resau (The Ruby Notebook) and Farinango—who met while Resau was teaching English at a community college—is based on Farinango's tumultuous upbringing in Ecuador as part of an indígena (indigenous) family, forced to live under the thumb of the mestizos (t...

May 09 2011 | Read Full Review of The Queen of Water


Virginia was born in an Andean village in Ecuador, where she lives with her parents and siblings, in a dirt hut with little food, no education, and little hope.

Mar 18 2011 | Read Full Review of The Queen of Water

Teen Reads

Even as a young girl growing up near the Andes of Ecuador, Virginia knows that her indígena (indigenous) family, living in a dirt hut, is different from the families of mestizos (mixed Spanish and native blood) who belong to another class of society.

Mar 08 2011 | Read Full Review of The Queen of Water

Jackson District Library

The queen of water is a basically true story of Virginia, a Quichua girl of Ecuador, born in a poor mountain village.

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