A Library for Juana: The World of Sor Juana Ines

Overview

From the author of Tomás and the Library Lady, an amazing, true story about the quest for knowledge that inspired one of Mexico’s most famous and beloved poets, Sor Juana Inés.
Juana Inés was just a little girl in a village in Mexico when she decided that the thing she wanted most in the world was her very own collection of books, just like in her grandfather’s library. When she found out that she could learn to read in school, she begged to go. And when she later discovered ...
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Overview

From the author of Tomás and the Library Lady, an amazing, true story about the quest for knowledge that inspired one of Mexico’s most famous and beloved poets, Sor Juana Inés.
Juana Inés was just a little girl in a village in Mexico when she decided that the thing she wanted most in the world was her very own collection of books, just like in her grandfather’s library. When she found out that she could learn to read in school, she begged to go. And when she later discovered that only boys could attend university, she dressed like a boy to show her determination to attend. Word of her great intelligence soon spread, and eventually, Juana Inés was considered one of the best scholars in the Americas–something unheard of for a woman in the 17th century.
Today, this important poet is revered throughout the world and her verse is memorized by schoolchildren all over Mexico.

A biography of the seventeenth-century Mexican poet, learned in many subjects, who became a nun later in life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mora (Tomas and the Library Lady) concisely traces the rise of spirited Juana Ines from inquisitive youngster to a 17th-century Mexican scholar. Insatiably curious Juana, age three, follows her older sister to school and asks to join the class. Mora laces her narrative with lively anecdotes, as when the determined Juana shows up for dinner dressed as a boy after her mother announces that only boys can attend university. At 10, the girl's mother sends her to live with family in Mexico City, and by age 15, Juana takes up residence in the viceroy's palace there, as a lady-in-waiting. Vidal's (Rainbow Crow) meticulously detailed, small-scale watercolor-and-gouache art details the bustling city as well as the finery of the palatial residence, where Juana immerses herself in the library and becomes an accomplished writer of poems, plays and songs. A standout spread shows Juana flanked by 40 scholars assembled by the viceroy at a giant round table; small insets depict the topics of their quiz (a harp, a caduceus, the planets in orbit around the sun). The narrative, unfortunately, appears in an uncommonly small font, but this story of persistence and pioneering will inspire youngsters. Even with the book's rather abrupt ending, the heroine's journey, coupled with Vidal's depiction of expressive faces and lovely renderings of flowers that spill from the borders of the pictures make for a memorable volume. Ages 5-8. (Nov.)
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz died in 1695 in a convent in Mexico. Despite the passage of more than 300 years, she is still considered one of Mexico's most brilliant scholars. An internationally known bibliophile and poet whose works are studied in university Spanish literature courses, she was a Renaissance woman in the most complete sense of the word. Mora's beautifully crafted text does credit to its subject, following her from birth to death. Sor Juana In s comes across as intelligent, headstrong, humorous, and kind, and her retreat to the convent as a place of learning seems natural. The use of one of her riddle poems, both in Spanish and in a witty English translation, gives young readers a taste of this eminent poet. The text is perfectly complemented by Vidal's brilliant, detailed illustrations that have the look and exactitude of Renaissance miniatures. This is an exceptional introduction to an exceptional woman, and would enhance any collection.-Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This picture-book biography of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz brings the great 17th-century poet and intellectual, revered throughout Latin America, to the attention of English-speaking children. Graced by Vidal’s (The Magic Bean Tree, not reviewed, etc.) exquisite gouache-and-watercolor illustrations, created with a magnifying glass and small brushes in the style of illuminated manuscripts, this is quite elegant. Graceful flowers, especially roses (the subject of one of Sor Juana’s best-known poems), link text and pictures. The red, flowered pattern of the cover and end papers picks up the vivid color of the young Juana’s dresses. A child prodigy who learned to read at the age of three, Juana studied with tutors in Mexico City, since girls were not allowed to attend the university. Invited to live as a lady-in-waiting in the viceroy’s palace, Juana read endlessly in its large library. A group of distinguished scholars convened to question her, and she was able to answer every one of their questions. "Yes, girls can do more than spin and sew. We can study and prove all we know," said Juana. Becoming a nun gave her the quiet she needed to think and write. Her library became one of the largest in the Americas. There is a glossary of Spanish words and an author’s note; unfortunately, no sources of additional information (numerous Web sites are available) have been included. Nevertheless, this magnificent offering, interspersed with Spanish phrases, and filled with authentic details in its illustrations will be a welcome addition to most library collections. (Picture book/biography. 5-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375906435
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 11/12/2002
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: Library Edition
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 10.27 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Pat Mora is the acclaimed author of Tomás and the Library Lady.
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