Aquí era el paraíso / Here Was Paradise is a selection of poems written by the great Maya poet Humberto Ak’abal. They evoke his childhood in and around the Maya K’iche’ village of Momostenango, Guatemala, and also describe his own role as a poet of the place.
Davico lives with his family above La Casita – the Little House – in Guatemala City in the early 1950s. But it’s not just a little house. It’s also the family restaurant!
The restaurant provides plenty of distraction and adventure for Davico and his older brother, Felipe. The mean cook, Augusto, and the always-late waiter, Otto, love to play tricks on Davico. There’s a huge oven in the gas cookstove, which Felipe knows how to light ― if he can only reach the box of matches above the stove. And there’s the endless fascination of the glass tank of live lobsters ― including the king of them all, Genghis Khan, who stares at Davico with round unblinking black eyes, waving his antennas like submarine periscopes. Could Genghis Khan climb on the back of the other lobsters and get out of the tank, Davico wonders. Could he move faster on land than in the water?
“Teens from Guatelama escape through Mexico and attempt to reach the U.S. border”–
We Are Not From Here has been discussed in My Take/Your Take for April 2021.
The Honey Jar retells the ancient stories Rigoberta Menchú’s grandparents told her when she was a little girl, and we can imagine her listening to them by the fire at night. These Mayan tales include natural phenomena narratives and animal stories. The underworld, the sky, the sun and moon, plants, people, animals, gods, and demigods are all players in these vibrant stories. Enchanting images by Domi draw on the Mayan landscape and the rich visual vocabulary that can be found in the weavings and crafts for which the Maya are renowned.
One night, Don Isidro and his three sons heard a stampede of horses crashing through their gardens. They were shocked to see horses of every color of the rainbow. When they shot at them, the horses fled the garden, leaving the vegetables completely destroyed. Don Isidro ordered his sons to guard the crop during the night. The oldest son failed, the middle son failed, and then it was the youngest son’s turn to guard. He succeeded in capturing one of the horses, which asked him to let it go. “Then I will rescue you when you are in danger,” it said. The youngest son agreed and freed the horse.
Ixchel, a young Mayan girl who is not allowed to use her mother’s thread to weave, exercises her ingenuity and repurposes plastic bags to create colorful weavings. Includes glossary and author’s note.
This book has been included in WOW’s Kids Taking Action Booklist. For our current list, visit our Boolist page under Resources in the green navigation bar.
In a Guatemalan village, students squished into their tiny schoolhouse, two grades to a classroom. The villagers had tried expanding the school, but the money ran out before the project was finished. No money meant no wall materials, and that meant no more room for the students. Until they got a wonderful, crazy idea: Why not use soda bottles, which were scattered all around, to form the cores of the walls? Sometimes thinking outside the box or inside the bottle leads to the perfect solution.
Join the discussion of The Soda Bottle School as well as other books centered around relocation on our My Take/Your Take page.
Growing up with his grandmother in a small Guatemalan town, seven-year-old Juan discovers the value of hard work, the joy of learning, and the location of the most beautiful place in the world.
Carlos knows that when the soldiers arrive with warnings about the Communist rebels, it is time to be a man and defend the village, keep everyone safe. But Mama tells him not yet — he’s still her quiet moonfaced boy. The soldiers laugh at the villagers, and before they move on, a neighbor is found dangling from a tree, a sign on his neck: Communist. Mama tells Carlos to run and hide, then try to find her. . . . Numb and alone, he must join a band of guerillas as they trek to the top of the mountain where Carlos’s abuela lives. Will he be in time, and brave enough, to warn them about the soldiers? What will he do then? A novel in verse inspired by actual events during Guatemala’s civil war, Caminar is the moving story of a boy who loses nearly everything before discovering who he really is. Set in 1981 Guatemala, a lyrical debut novel tells the powerful tale of a boy who must decide what it means to be a man during a time of war.
Dejar volar la imaginación, eso es lo que hizo Miguel Ángel Asturias cuando escribió El Hombre que lo Tenía Todo Todo Todo, novela corta en la que se condensan el estilo elegante, las influencias del surrealismo y de la literatura oral, y el gusto por la fantasía que caracterizaban la obra de su autor