Lupe, the oldest child of farmers, is an active child who works and plays hard. When she falls from a tree and is paralyzed from the waist down, her family is ruined by the medical bills and the treatment doesn't even help. When she almost dies from infection, her parents send her to a special "village" where disabled people live together and help one another.
Although Lupe is fictional, the PROJIMO is a real center in Western Mexico. Sadly, it is in an area rife with drug smuggling and violence. Many parents are afraid to bring their children there, and few doctors want to work at such risk, so patients must provide most of the care to one another.
I'm uncertain as the intended audience for this book. It might soften the hearts of people who are insensitive to the disabled or don't care about the international problems of poverty and inadequate medical care, but I don't see those people reading such a book. It could be inspirational for those who've recently suffered disabling accidents, but I tend to suspect that the last thing a depressed, injured person wants is yet another "inspirational" gift. It isn't really suitable for younger children because of the sickeningly graphic descriptions of sores, infections, rotting flesh, etc.
I got this book because I like Bang's art, but there are only a few small black-and-white drawings here. Once I started the book I actually expected something a bit different from what I got, because it begins with the conflict between Lupe and her spoiled, rich cousin Angelica. Angelica sneers at rural ways and it is her dare to climb the forbidden fig tree that leads to Lupe's injury. We get a brief scene where Angelica visits her cousin in the hospital and is subdued in manner and dress. At that point I was expecting continued interaction between the girls and maybe something "redemptive" where each learns to respect the other's good points, but we never see Angelica and her parents again. Odd from a structural point of view but I guess realistic.
Don't read this if you are squeamish or depressed. Really, you could just skip the book and give some time or money to a charity.