Laj Ali Re Jayub in her native language of Quiché. Gabi climbs trees to be within reach of the eagles and watch the sun rise into an empty sky. She is at home among the outstretched branches of the Guatemalan forests.
Then one day from the safety of a tree, Gabi witnesses the sights and sounds of an unspeakable massacre. She sees rape and murder -- the ravages of guerrilla warfare. She vows to be Tree Girl no more.
Earthbound, she joins the hordes of refugees struggling to reach the Mexican border. She has lost her whole family; her entire village has been wiped out. Yet she clings to the hope that she will be reunited with her youngest sister, Alicia. Over dangerous miles and months of hunger, thirst, and the threat of more violence from soldiers, Gabriela’s search for Alicia and for a safe haven becomes a search for self. Having turned her back on her own identity, can she hope to claim a new life?
This novel is based on a true story told to the author one night by the real Tree Girl in a secure safe house in Guatemala.
Ben Mikaelsen is the winner of the International Reading Association Award and the Western Writers of America Spur Award. His novels have been nominated for and won many state reader's choice awards. These novels include Red Midnight, Rescue Josh McGuire, Sparrow Hawk Red, Stranded, Countdown, Petey, and Tree Girl. Ben's articles and photos appear in numerous magazines around the world. Ben lives near Bozeman, Montana, with his 700-pound black bear, Buffy.