The Story of Colors / La Historia de los Colores: A Bilingual Folktale from the Jungles of Chiapas

Overview

The imfamous children's book where el subcommandante Marcos learns how the world blossomed with colors.

"Beautiful bilingual retelling for children of a folktale from Chiapas that explains how colors were created, why people differ in color and ways of thinking, and why the macau sports all the colors. Excellent translation; stunning illustrations. A remarkable book"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 58.

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2003 Paperback Very good

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Overview

The imfamous children's book where el subcommandante Marcos learns how the world blossomed with colors.

"Beautiful bilingual retelling for children of a folktale from Chiapas that explains how colors were created, why people differ in color and ways of thinking, and why the macau sports all the colors. Excellent translation; stunning illustrations. A remarkable book"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 58.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"…[A] lovely book, gracefully translated…and distinguished…by the vibrant illustrations in pastel and paint by…an indigenous artist from Oaxaca, Mexico. It will delight young readers of Spanish and English (the text is printed in both languages)…" — New York Times Book Review

"The Story of Colors reflects a literary, sometimes whimsical side that has distinguished Subcomandante Marcos, the only non-Indian among the Zapatistas' highest leaders, from other steely Latin American guerrilla commanders." —The New York Times

"The text, colloquial and rolling in both Spanish and English, has rhythm, motion, and a sense of authenticity…[THe book] stands alone as a lovely, integrated folktale with a meaning and message all its own, and is deserving of purchase." —School Library Journal

"This beautiful book reminds us that the Zapatista movement is one of dignity that emanates from the grassroots of the indigenous people of Mexico. It is a lesson for all of us in the human spirit." —Indigo Girls, Amy Ray

"The Story of Colors reminds me of the kind of stories told in my own Mvskoke country. It’s rich in detail, humor and wisdom, and within it is the sense that we are part of some large amazing universe that will go on creating itself despite the foibles of humans, other creatures and gods." —Joy Harjo

"Here, Antonio offers an allegory not of 'diversity'—a timid, lackluster thing—but of dissatisfaction and its creative possibilities. The world that seems fixed and oppressive can be changed; the 'gods' can be anyone, but what they make they must safeguard against forgetfulness in case the spirit of revolt should dim or be tamped down. And so the gods, who color the world with a thrilling abandon, use the last of their pigment to paint the feathers of the macaw, a bird revered in the highlands, 'because they didn’t want to forget the colors or lose them.' " —The Nation

Patrick Markee
...[A] lovely book, gracefully translated...and distinguished...by the vibrant illustrations in pastel and paint by...an indigenous artist from Oaxaca, Mexico. It will deligfht young readers of Spanish and English (the text is printed in both languages)...
New York Times Book Review
Julia Preston
There are a few surprises...in this eye-catching bilingual children's book just published by a small publisher in El Paso, Texas, which won a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Its author is Subcomandante Marcos, the political mastermind and military strategist of the Zapatista guerrillas of southern Mexico....The Story of Colors reflects a literary, sometimes whimsical side that has distinguished Subcomandante Marcos, the only non-Indian among the Zapatistas' highest leaders, from other steely Latin American guerrilla commanders.
The New York Times
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
This folktale from the Chipas natives is a delightful story of how colors came to be in the world. The setting and teller are contemporary and the primitive artwork by Dominguez matches the tale, which is presented in English and Spanish on opposing pages. The story, however, is probably not one that most parents in contemporary American society would feel comfortable with. The narrator talks about men and women making love in a matter-of-fact way. Furthermore, the story has been written by a soldier (pictured in ski mask with an ammunition belt across his chest) in the army of the Zapatistas, who have declared war on the Mexican government. A young adult or adult studying the folklore of the indigenous peoples of Mexico will certain enjoy the book, but very young children will probably find it perplexing.
School Library Journal
K Up-Employing elements of both fable and indigenous pourquoi tale, this story explains the origin of colors in the world and how the macaw acquired his bright plumage. Old Antonio relates that the gods, bored with black and white, go out into the world and collect colors-red from blood, yellow from a child's laughter, etc. The colors combine and make more colors. The gods, needing a place to keep them safe, spot the macaw, and decide on his feathers. And so the bird goes "strutting about just in case men and women forget how many colors there are and how many ways of thinking, and that the world will be happy if all the colors and ways of thinking have their place." The text, colloquial and rolling in both Spanish and English, has rhythm, motion, and a sense of authenticity. Dom nguez's primitive forms have volume and solidity, along with a kinetic energy that gives them the sense of movement. The figures, structured on a line as pure as that of Picasso, carry the action in the black-and-white sections, but the colors as they are introduced are vibrant and fresh as if they had, indeed, just been found, newly minted. The meld of artwork and text is flawless. This said, some caveats are in order. There are several lovely, natural references to lovemaking, and the accompanying illustration shows a woman and a male god in an unmistakably sexual embrace. Within the context of the story and culture from which it derives, it speaks to a way of life in which sexuality is accepted as a natural and cotidian element. However, in our cultural context, it poses some problems of potential audience. Finally, this publication has received a lot of press because the author is a Zapatista insurgent involved in guerrilla warfare with the Mexican government. The book, however, stands alone as a lovely, integrated folktale with a meaning and message all its own, and is deserving of purchase.-Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Patrick Markee
...[A] lovely book, gracefully translated...and distinguished...by the vibrant illustrations in pastel and paint by...an indigenous artist from Oaxaca, Mexico. It will deligfht young readers of Spanish and English (the text is printed in both languages)...
The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780938317715
  • Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2003
  • Language: Spanish
  • Edition description: Spanish Language Edition
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Subcomandante Marcos (Date of birth unknown), is the de facto spokesman for the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), a Mexican rebel movement. He is known as Delegado Cero (Delegate Zero) in matters concerning the Other Campaign. In January 1994, Marcos led an army of Indian farmers out of the mountains and took over the eastern part of the state of Chiapas, protesting the government's neglect of indigenous peoples. Marcos is an author, political poet, adroit humorist, and outspoken Marxist opponent of globalization, capitalism and neo-liberalism. Marcos is currently advocating having the Mexican constitution amended to recognize the rights of the country's indigenous inhabitants.[3] The internationally known guerrillero has been described as a "new" and "postmodern" Che Guevara

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