When his archaeologist parents go missing in Central America, fourteen-year-old Max embarks on a wild adventure through the Mayan underworld in search of the legendary Jaguar Stones, which enabled ancient Mayan kings to wield the powers of living gods. Includes cast of characters, glossary, facts about the Maya cosmos and calendar, and a recipe for chicken tamales.


Popol Vuh: A Sacred Book of the Maya

One of the few Maya documents to survive the Spanish conquest, the Popol Vuh describes the creation of the Maya universe and of humans. It tells the tale of the Hero Twins, who defeated the gods of the underworld in a ball game, and details the legendary history of the Quiche Maya rulers until their imprisonment and torture by the Spanish. Equivalent to the Bible and the Greek and Roman mythologies, the Popol Vuh is the essential text of Mayan culture.

Spirit of the Maya: A Boy Explores His People’s Mysterious Past

Kin, a 12-year-old Lacando’n boy living in a Mexican town, is descended from the ancient Maya. Wearing contemporary clothing yet sporting the style of long hair traditional to his people, he is clearly rooted in both the past and the present. After his grandfather shows him a book about Pacal, a Maya who became king in 615 A.D. when he was 12, Kin eagerly accompanies his father to the site of Pacal’s tomb. The boy “feels a twinge of sadness” watching his father sell his handmade replicas of Maya hunting arrows to tourists “at the gates of the great city that his ancestors once ruled.” Kin explores the Maya ruins and locates Pacal’s tomb, but afterwards he feels lonely and distant from his ancestors. Then, on the ride home, he has an improbably sudden change of attitude when he spies a statue of the king. All at once Kin realizes that he and Pacal are “brothers” and, for the first time in his life, Kin “knows how it feels to be a king.”

The Well of Sacrifice

Eveningstar Macaw lives in a glorious Mayan city in the ninth century. When the king falls ill and dies, the city begins to crumble. An evil high priest, Great Skull Zero, orders the sacrifice of those who might become king, including Eveningstar’s beloved brother.

As Eveningstar attempts to stop the sacrifice and to save her brother, Eveningstar becomes an enemy of the High Priest. The Priest attempts to send her into the well of sacrifice, and Eveningstar must find a way not only to save her own life but to rescue her family and her city from the tyrannical grasp of Great Skull Zero.