Destiny's Journey
by Robert Ruiz, Jr.

"Faith and hope … will see me through these perils and I will reach my destiny."

Papa Jalapeno, Mama Serrano and their son, Pico Pequin, leave the Valley of the Chiles in Mexico for "the opportunity to achieve greatness in America." After a long journey to the coast, they sneak aboard a ship to hide among the crates lashed to the deck. So far, so good, Papa thinks, despite his worries about the weather. After several hours at sea, the sun slips behind darkening clouds. Waves rise higher and higher, battering the ship until an enormous swell sweeps the Chiles family overboard. The ship sinks. Papa and Mama are nowhere to be seen. How will Pico Pequin survive?

Friendly fish carry Pico through the ocean for days. Exhausted, he is tossed onto a dock in New York Harbor. The only shelter he sees is a truck being loaded. He climbs up and hides among the boxes. Hours later he finds himself on a farm where he meets local animals to whom he sobs out his story of loss. After much thought, the various animals all agree to help Pico find Uncle Rocotillo in Tifton, GA. And so the dangerous quest south through the Appalachians Mountains begins.

The author of this charming tale has developed unique characters to lead readers through this action adventure. He writes with the heart of a child, in the voice of someone who knows that so much of Mexican heritage is centered on love and respect for family. Each chapter moves at a pace that keeps the interest flowing. The author's imagination assures readers that there will be no pause in the adventure. This book is suitable for children to read themselves, or for parents to share, chapter by chapter, as a bedtime treat. This compelling story warrants another offering for children of all ages from this talented author.

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