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Children's LiteratureThis author is a Nobel Peace Prize winner and Mayan activist who retells the ancient stories her grandparents told her when she was a child. There are twelve stories in this collection dealing with animal tales, the sun and moon, plants, people, and gods. Some of their titles are: "The Amazing Twins," "The Story of the Weasel Who Helped People Find Corn," "The Keepers of the Earth," and "Grandmother Moon and Grandfather Sun Were Bored." In this latter story, Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon are very sad. Although Grandfather Sun loves Grandmother Moon, he feels something is missing, so together they create stars from the four hundred boys that appear in the sacred book, The Popul Vuh. But soon they are bored watching the stars, so they decide to have them speak, but the stars do not say a word. So Grandfather Sun makes a sunspot explode, and then he bumps into the stars and they become meteorites. But still they are bored. They decide to create two spirits who would give them happiness. One is named The Heart of Heaven and The Heart of Earth. Grandmother Moon and Grandfather Sun are so happy that they form a large circle with the stars and dance all day long. The illustrations in this book are done by a native Mexican artist named Domi. They are colorful and symbolic of Mayan folktales. Back matter includes a glossary of Mayan words. Older children will enjoy reading these magical stories. 2002, Groundwood Books, Ages 10 up.
—Della A. Yannuzzi