For chapter-book readers, an accessible and informative illustrated biography of the winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize, tracing Menchú's hard life from birth in a remote Mayan village in the mountains of Guatemala to the present.
Brill (Allen Jay and the Underground Railroad, 1993, etc.) calmly details the horrors suffered by indigenous peoples under the power of the ladinos (people who are both Mayan and Spanish, or who reject their Mayan heritage)the seizures of farmland, the theft of food, the brutal treatment and slaughter of those who objected, the literal voicelessness of the Mayas, most of whom spoke no Spanish or even the dialects of other villages. The backbreaking work Menchú did as a childon a coffee plantation and later as a maidgave rise to her intent to help her people, as her father had. Her exhaustive tours of speaking in the Americas and abroad broke "the silence around Guatemala" and brought international support. A generous smile beams from the book's black-and-white photographs of this modern heroine; from nowhere, with nothing, Menchú gave dignity to a people and became a role model to the world.