Girl from Chimel

Overview


Nobel Peace Prize winner and Mayan activist Rigoberta Menchú brings the world of her earliest childhood vividly to life in this colorful book. Before the war in Guatemala and despite the hardships that the Mayan people endured, life in the Mayan villages of the highlands had a beauty and integrity. This was forever changed by the conflict and brutal genocide that was to come. Menchú’s stories of her grandparents and parents, of the natural world that surrounded her, and her retelling of the stories that she was ...
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Overview


Nobel Peace Prize winner and Mayan activist Rigoberta Menchú brings the world of her earliest childhood vividly to life in this colorful book. Before the war in Guatemala and despite the hardships that the Mayan people endured, life in the Mayan villages of the highlands had a beauty and integrity. This was forever changed by the conflict and brutal genocide that was to come. Menchú’s stories of her grandparents and parents, of the natural world that surrounded her, and her retelling of the stories that she was told present a rich, humorous, and engaging portrait of that lost world. Domi draws on the Mayan landscape and rich craftwork to create the stunning illustrations that complement this engaging story.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This slim story collection opens with simple text and vivid, powerful art—an unbeatable combination. The storytelling voice of Menchu herself depends less on literary device than on the art of oral narrative. A brief introduction sets a scene of ancestors telling tales around a fire. The sparks and heat are palpable as is the intensity of this memory. All in all, memory is writ large in this collection. At their core these are intimate tales of family and community told in the first person. They ring clear and true, startling in their lack of sentimentality. The grandfather practically kidnaps his bride-to-be when he is forbidden to marry her. She feels terror as much as longing, an emotional turmoil that is conveyed refreshingly unmasked. Stories of mouse eyes and rabbit tails mix in with stories of life and death, birthing babies, growing corn, keeping bees, and understanding the place called home. If sorrow informs some of these short pieces, one can hear pride singing in others. An account of Menchu's naming is funny and poignant. Each autobiographical tale marks a culture in transition. This endangered traditional world of the indigenous Mayan people is one that children deserve to know, crafted in a voice that reteller and translator have taken pains to deliver up as a gift. Mexican artist Domi's illustrations are rich with color and alive with the energy of vanishing rivers and swarming bees. 2005, Groundwood, Ages 9 up.
—Uma Krishnaswami
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-A human-rights activist and native Guatemalan tells stories about her grandparents, parents, and herself. She makes clear the cultural importance of the land and its animals, and describes indigenous life in detail. The book focuses on the time before the 36-year war in her native land. Although the reminiscences have value and some beautiful language, the writing is disorganized and the book does not read smoothly. Part of this may be attributed to translation, but in reality, the scattered bits and pieces of ideas do not come together anywhere, least of all at the end. Domi's beautiful illustrations of people and animals do more to make connections than the text.-Kate McGowen, Topsham Public Library, ME Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The Nobel Peace Prize-winner offers a set of disconnected episodes from an idyllic Guatemalan childhood, occasionally animated by poetic flights of language-"My grandfather walked and walked. What was he looking for? No one knows. He would swallow trails and leave behind the remains of goldfinch songs"-briefly retold folktales and references to Mayan beliefs that are more allusive than descriptive. Domi, best known as the illustrator of Subcommandante Marcos' Story of Colors (1999), adds full-page, folk-art style scenes in glowing colors, featuring totemic animals and stylized figures with strangely crude features; the effect is as atmospheric as the text. Younger readers may find the tales, and some of the anecdotes, of interest, but adults will respond most strongly to these misty reminiscences-and to the poignant undertone added by Menchu's hints of ensuing troubled times. (Autobiography. 8-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780888996664
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 9/9/2005
  • Pages: 56
  • Sales rank: 717,035
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 860L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.84 (h) x 0.45 (d)

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