Fifteen-year-old Amadou counts the things that matter. For two long years, what’s mattered are cacao pods. The more Amadou can chop down in a single day, the better his chances are of keeping the bosses’ beatings at bay, keeping himself and his little brother, Seydou, alive and then maybe, just maybe, returning home to Baba and Auntie. At least he hopes so. But the bosses won’t tell him the number that matters most—the number that equals freedom.
Tara Sullivan was born in India and spent her childhood living in Bangladesh, Ecuador, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic with her parents, who were international aid workers. She received a BA in Spanish literature and cognitive science from the University of Virginia, and a MA in Latin American Studies and a MPA in non-profit management from Indiana University. She currently teachers high school Spanish and lives in Massachusetts.