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Published by Hyperion Books for Children, 1996


When Ricky Diaz discovers that his mother, whose death he'd thought was accidental, was actually murdered by drug dealers, he's desperate for revenge. But his father, an ex-Drug Enforcement agent, refuses the mission the DEA now offers: to steal back an American-made radar detector installed in a plane the cartel uses to smuggle drugs from Mexico.


So Ricky decides to take matters into his own hands. He runs away to Mexico, disguising himself as one of the rateros, or street children. Life on the streets is hard, though, and he's barely surviving when he meets Soledad, a wily but kindhearted ratera. With her help, he must now find a way to get into the drug cartel's compound and take the plane, or end up as yet another casualty in the raging drug war.


The Creation of SPARROW HAWK RED . . .
The idea for Sparrow Hawk Red came from growing up in Bolivia, SA. with Spanish as my primary language, I moved to the United States when I was 13 years old and had a difficult time adjusting. I was often picked on because of my differences. I became interested in flying and parachuting. At age 16, I first soloed a Cessna 150. At age 17, I started parachuting. My differences have helped me to become a successful author but it was a very difficult childhood. (Just remember: Your differences are what make you special.)

My research took me to Tucson, Arizona, Nogales Sonora, Tijuana, Mexicali, and Juarez, Mexico. I traveled with border patrol officers, visited museums, interviewed homeless children, hiked in the desert learning plant life, and slept out on the street eating out of garbage cans to get an understanding for the homeless.


Available in hard cover or soft cover.

"Readers who require a fast-paced plot with lots of action, tension, and danger will find everything they want in Mikaelsens's latest novel ...

A dynamite story."                                                                                                                                 -Booklist (starred review)


"The characterization is strong, the depiction of street life realistic, and the theme timely."      -School Library Journal


"... heart-pounding ... reluctant readers will fly through the story to the finish."             -Bulletin, Center for Children's Books

Peruse Ben's Other Engaging Stories

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