Efrain of the Sonoran Desert: A Lizard's Life Among the Seri Indians

Overview

"The very first thing that you see when you reach the beach and leave your boat behind in the shallows of the Sea of Cortez is a lizard running away from the water. It curls its tail high so the waves won't get it wet." That's what Gary Nabhan remembers about his first visit to the Seri village in Kino Bay. There he met storyteller Amalia Astorga. She tells him the bittersweet history of Efrain, a sun-blotched lizard. In so doing, she helps him to understand how the Seris have protected a species that everywhere else is endangered. Together ...

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2001-10-01 Hardcover Good Good Condition item. We strive to provide the best shopping experience with every item we sell. Satisfaction guaranteed! ! Ships from US. Please allow ... 1-3 weeks for delivery outside US. Read more Show Less

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Overview

"The very first thing that you see when you reach the beach and leave your boat behind in the shallows of the Sea of Cortez is a lizard running away from the water. It curls its tail high so the waves won't get it wet." That's what Gary Nabhan remembers about his first visit to the Seri village in Kino Bay. There he met storyteller Amalia Astorga. She tells him the bittersweet history of Efrain, a sun-blotched lizard. In so doing, she helps him to understand how the Seris have protected a species that everywhere else is endangered. Together Amalia and Gary give young readers an insight into the life and culture of the Seris, an endangered people themselves, but a people who know how to love their land and its inhabitants.

Amalia Astorga is a Seri Elder. She lives with her tribe in Desemboque, Sonora in Mexico. She is preserving the herbal knowledge of the Seri hunting-gathering community, as well as songs and stories about native animals.

Since 1975, Gary Paul Nabhan has roamed the ancient cactus forests, mesquite grasslands and hidden oases of the Sonoran Desert. His original scholarship integrates conservation biology, agroecology, ethnonutrititon and applied anthropology in unique and unforeseen ways. A co-founder of Native Seeds/SEARCH, he is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a Pew Scholarship on Conservation and the Environment, the Premio Gaia, and the John Burroughs Medal for natural history writing. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Marketing Plans:

o Author tour in the Southwest to include Tucson, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Santa Fe and El Paso.

o Postcards

Janet K. Miller, a self-taught artist, makes her home in Tucson, Arizona. She lived and worked in West Africa during most of the 1980s, and started painting in 1993. She does reverse glass painting, painting inside out and backwards on the wrong side of clear glass. The original paintings for Efraín are all done using this technique.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Efrain of the Sonoran Desert: A Lizard's Life Among the Seri Indians by Amalia Astorga, Seri Indian Elder, as told to Gary Paul Nabhan, illus. by Janet K. Miller, recounts Nabhan's curiosity about how a lizard could thrive in lands where the Seri live but be considered endangered outside of that territory. A Seri elder explains the conundrum by way of the fable of Efrain, a sand-dwelling lizard. Naef, folk-art style paintings capture the azure hues of the Sea of Cortez and the rich patterns and textures of Seri fabrics. ( Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
This book was written after the author visited the Seri Indians in Mexico. While there, he noticed many lizards and inquired of a scientist why they were so abundant. The author was surprised to learn that these lizards were actually endangered everywhere else, but somehow flourished around the tribe. Out of curiosity, the author tracked down an old woman he hoped could answer his questions about why the endangered lizards were plentiful near the tribe. The woman told him the true story of her friend, a lizard named Efrain, who was tragically killed. At the conclusion of the woman's story, the author gives many pages of information about the Seri Indian tribe. This information includes where they live, how many people are in the tribe, and a discussion of their traditions and their respect for reptiles. The illustrator has done a great job of capturing the life of the tribe. Although the pictures are basic, they are very colorful and contain details of tribal life. The story itself, on the other hand, is satisfactory. It was difficult to get excited about this book because the story isn't thrilling and suspenseful. I think the author wanted to make the book educational and focused more on this educational value than on making it stimulating. The story would have been more thrilling if Nabhan had used more descriptive words and better details. Although this book may not be a page-turner, it does have good educational value because it exposes young readers to ideas from another culture. I think teachers could make excellent use of the book for a social studies unit to help children learn about the tribe and read a story to go along with their research. 2001, Cinco Puntos Press, Ages 8 to10.
— Melissa Olwell
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-The zebra-tailed lizard is becoming extinct except in those areas of Baja California populated by a small tribe of Seri Indians. Nabhan, a naturalist and environmentalist, returned to Seri lands to ask the people how they kept these animals alive. The story in this book is the answer, provided by a Seri elder. A special lizard named Efra'n became a friend of the Astorga family. He showed up regularly to be fed and, it seemed, to socialize. When he was killed by wild dogs, the entire family mourned his passing. The book closes with information on the Seri tribe, their methods of cultural transmission and survival in a harsh environment, and their worldview. Less a picture book than a brief ethnographic study with a story imbedded in it, this is an excellent tool for beginning discussions on a number of topics, from cultural values to environmentalism. Miller's illustrations are extraordinary. Created using a technique called reverse glass painting, the pictures are precise and clear, with blocks of vivid color and finely delineated forms. The primitive look, reminiscent of Carmen Lomas Garza's work, enhances the primary-source feeling of the text. This is not a book students will pick up on their own, but given its value both as story and as information, it merits sharing.-Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780938317555
  • Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2001
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.20 (d)

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