By Sue Picco
In this contemporary novel set in New Mexico, a young boy turns to his grandfather for help as he faces a sense of tragedy when he is told his father has suffered a life-threatening injury in Iraq.
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When nine-year-old Roman Rodriguez learns that his father has suffered a life-threatening injury in Iraq, it changes his life forever. While his mother and little sister travel to Germany to be with Roman's father at a military hospital, he is sent to El Puerto, a small New Mexico village to stay with his grandparents.
There he confronts doubt and regret about himself and his family. Roman grows angry when he discovers his mother and grandmother are keeping his father's true condition a secret. He turns to his grandfather for answers. Grandpa Joe explains that three constants in his life have helped him make sense of tragedy: his faith, his family and the land. Now, Roman must grapple with his worst fears about his dad as he and Grandpa Joe make the Good Friday pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayo, a sacred site in northern New Mexico said to have healing powers.
A native New Mexican, Sue Picco spent nearly 30 years in education as a high school teacher and administrator. She has made the Good Friday pilgrimages to El Santuario de Chimayo and Tomé Hill many times. "A pilgrimage is a very personal response to life's struggles and joys. We are all peregrinos or pilgrims trying to make sense of our tragedies, our struggles and our happiness," Sue says. She has experienced military deployment as a spouse and as a mother. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico’s South Valley where she writes and practices small-scale sustainable agriculture.
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