Cristina Ortega is the granddaughter of Juan Melquiades Ortega, a master weaver of northern New Mexico’s Chimayó Valley. Chimayó’s roots are in early Spanish Colonial times and has long been famous for its unique weavings. Juan M. Ortega was taught to weave by his father in the early days when weavers sheared their own sheep and spun and dyed the wool for their blankets. El Tejedor (The Weaver) continued weaving until he was one hundred years old, when his eyesight failed him. In The Eyes of the Weaver, Cristina shares her memories of visits when she was ten years old with Grandpa in the village of Chimayó, where he taught her how to weave. She also recalls how Grandma helped her husband choose color combinations for his Chimayó blankets. It was during these visits that Cristina learned how important it is for a child to listen to and learn from his or her relatives.Some of Juan M. Ortega’s weavings and tools of the trade have been included in the exhibit, “American Encounters,” at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C.Reading level: 10 years and up
Kukamba loves to visit her grandmother, Gugu. Though the village where Gugu lives is dry and dusty, her house is big and sprawling and unlike any other. The courtyard and walls are decorated with beautiful paintings and clay animals, all made by Gugu herself. Best of all, when Kukamba visits, she gets to help shape and paint some of the wonderful zebras, elephants, and birds that Gugu is always adding to the house. When the heavy rains come and her grandmother’s showpieces are destroyed, Kukamba is crushed. But the Gugu helps her see that an ending can also be a beginning, and art is not the only beauty the world has to offer.
Grannie Jus’ Come! joins a host of Caribbean children’s books, but unlike the rest–which are mostly song books, poetry books, and counting books–this book offers a rich narrative about a young girl and her loving relationship with her grandmother.
As two Takunami youths approach their thirteenth birthdays, Luka reaches the culmination of his mother’s training for the tribe’s manhood test while Tirio, raised in Miami, Florida, by his adoptive mother, feels called to begin preparations to prove himself during his upcoming visit to the Amazon rain forest where he was born.