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The Most Beautiful Place in the World Paperback – May 25, 1993

4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-5 Juan lives in a remote Guatemalan lake village, physically beautiful, yet desolate with the poverty that is matter-of-factly described by the young protagonist. When Juan's mother wants to remarry, the new man refuses to accept Juan, and he lives with his grandmother, who provides him with a shoeshine kit and puts him to work. Juan teaches himself to read some of the street signs by asking his customers to tell him what the letters are, and eventually asks his grandmother if he can go to school, knowing that she needs the money that he earns. All is well, however; Grandmother simply hasn't remembered that Juan is now old enough for school. Her own surprise is nothing compared to readers', though, when they discover that this boy, virtually on his own for years, is only seven years old. Colorful descriptions of the tropical beauty of Guatemala almost gloss over the exigencies of poverty. Cameron's style has almost a fairy-tale quality in that she takes no positions as to the rights and wrongs of the characters' situations or behaviors. Juan accepts all with stoicism, regarding the loss of his bed as worse than the loss of mother and father. He reflects that he still has his grandmother ( even though her protection seems rather scanty). Their hand-to-mouth existence is redeemed by their attitudes about lifeGrandmother's that the most beautiful place in the world is "anyplace you can hold your head up," and Juan's that that place is "where you love somebody. . .and you know that person loves you." A small , first-chapter book that is a very satisfying example of human values; a serious book for serious moments. Ruth Semrau, Lovejoy School, McKinney, Tex.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Seven-year-old Juan lives in Guatemala, a place of stunning beauty and grim economic reality. Abandoned by his mother, Juan lives with his grandmother and shines shoes. He passionately wants to attend school, but fears Grandmother will say no. Finally gathering his courage, he is surprised when she not only agrees to send him to school but also chides him about the importance of standing up for himself. Juan tells this bittersweet story, which reads smoothly and powerfully on several levels, with warmth and dignity." Booklist --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 830L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (May 25, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394804244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394804248
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.2 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a delightful children's book about a boy living in San Pablo, a small town on the shores of Lake Atitlán, in Guatemala - truly one of the most beautiful places in the world. The story is a heartwarming, but authentic depiction of the trials and joys of a boy's life in rural Guatemala. The drawings are also accurate portraits of village life. The themes of responsibility, love, and quest for knowledge are timeless. Not only will children enjoy this charming tale, but adults will enjoy reading it to them.
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Format: Paperback
I teach 3rd grade, and I read this book aloud to my students each year. Ann Cameron gives a realistic picture of a child abandoned by his mother, and taken in by his grandmother.
She gives a wonderful message about the importance of education and asking for what is really important to you. Although this book is written in easy to read language and great illustrations, the author's messages are best discussed with young ones. I thank Ann Cameron every time I read this book.
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Format: Paperback
I have read this book aloud to my first and second grade students for years. It is an excellent story, well told, with all the realities of a different culture in a different situation than USA children. However, it is painted with the strokes of deepest, realistic love that a family can have. This is a great story to teach and talk about the struggles of families everywhere, the world and it's differences, and the importance of character "no matter what". It is the book my second graders yearn to read on their own and therefore is a super motivator. It is rich in geography.
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A Kid's Review on October 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
The story that I read was really snappy and cool. It's called The Most Beautiful Place in the World By Ann Cameron. There was a boy named Juan and his grandmother. There was also Juan's mom. It takes place in San Pablo, Guatamala. The problem is she leaves him for ever and his mom doesn't let him visit her. He really loves his mom after his dad left them.Some one would want to read this book because its really sad and who ever loves tragedy or not it's a really good book.I recommend this book to people of any age.
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Format: Paperback
Eventhough the book speaks of hard work and drive, I am sad my second grader read it. It speaks of a child who had a father who left he and his mother and a mother who meets a new man and leaves the child behind. The mother tells the 7 year old boy that the man didn't want him (basically, fend for yourself son, I'm looking after me). Later his mother and new man come and take the boy's bed for themselves and leaves him to sleep on a rug. The plot very clearly depicts how insensitive and selfish people who are supposed to be protecting children can be.

Do any of us really want our children to worry that if their single parent meets a spouse that they would be discarded like this? This is not something an unsuspecting second grader should read. Buyer beware!
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Format: Paperback
We purchased this book for my daughters book report. Not only did my daughter love this book, but my Mother did also. She travels to Guatemala each year and it touched her heart. Would recommend it for any age.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very sad, but an honest depiction of a part of Guatemala that we were exposed to during our recent visit. The poverty seemed crippling, and children in work roles were very common.
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Format: Paperback
I am from Guatemala City and currently living in the US, I read this book with my daughter and she loved it, this book has helped me to explain some of my culture to her. She knows that "anyplace can be the most beautiful place in the world..."
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