Teresa of the New World

Teresa of the New World

by Sharman Apt Russell


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-Winner of the Arizona Author's Association Award for Children's Literature
-Runner-up for the Arizona Book of the Year
-Finalist for the 2016 WILLA Award for Children's/Young Adult Fiction
-Finalist for the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards
-IndieFab Finalist

In 1528, the real-life conquistador Cabeza de Vaca shipwrecked in the New World where he lived for eight years as a slave, trader, and shaman. In this lyrical weaving of history and myth, the adventurer takes his young daughter Teresa from her home in Texas to walk westward into the setting sun, their travels accompanied by miracles—visions and prophecies. But when Teresa reaches the outposts of New Spain, life is not what her father had promised.

As a kitchen servant in the household of a Spanish official, Teresa grows up estranged from the magic she knew as a child, when she could speak to the earth and listen to animals. When a new epidemic of measles devastates the area, the sixteen-year-old sets off on her own journey, befriending a Mayan were-jaguar who cannot control his shape-shifting and a warhorse abandoned by his Spanish owner. Now Teresa moves through a land stalked by Plague: smallpox as well as measles, typhus, and scarlet fever.

Soon it becomes clear that Teresa and her friends are being manipulated and driven by forces they do not understand. To save herself and others, Teresa will find herself listening again to the earth, sinking underground, swimming through limestone and fossil, opening to the power of root and stone. As she searches for her place in the New World, she will travel farther and deeper than she had ever imagined.

Rich in historical detail and scope, Teresa of the New World takes you into the dreamscape of the sixteenth-century American Southwest.

Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readers—picture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft; stories told with LEGO bricks; books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631580420
Publisher: Yucca
Publication date: 03/03/2015
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Sharman Apt Russell has lived in the numinous deserts of the American Southwest for most of her life. She is a longtime professor at Western New Mexico University and Antioch University in L.A. and the award-winning author of numerous essays, short stories, and books, including Hunger and An Obsession with Butterflies.

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Teresa of the New World: A Novel 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Elizabeth Fackler-Sinkovitz More than 1 year ago
This Y/A novel journeys into a magical realism that animates the natural forces of Plague and Fear, presenting them as enemies for Teresa to outrun and outwit. By mastering a conquistador’s horse and pacifying a jaguar shape-shifter, Teresa manifests surreal abilities to conquer her world. The historically accurate plot portrays the fictitious daughter of the legendary, shipwrecked Spaniard, Cabeza de Vaca, as she accompanies him across the lowlands from Florida to Texas. Teresa has a flattened head and tattooed face, marking her as a heathen to be left behind when her father returns to Spain. Abandoned, she shuts down and becomes an obedient, observant scullery maid who never speaks while working in the governor’s kitchen. Disease decimates the population in the wake of the Spaniards’ invasion, leaving Teresa the only human alive in the governor’s compound. She begins walking, as she had with her father, this time following her heart to find herself. Along the way, she saves and tames Horse, an animal who anthropomorphizes the arrogance of the Spanish hidalgos. When Teresa and Horse are tracked by a jaguar, Teresa defies the shape-shifter to rescue the boy, Pomo, trapped inside. Gradually realizing her strengths, Teresa resumes speaking instead of only silently communicating through mental telepathy. When Plague joins them disguised in various attractive forms, Teresa sees through the camouflage and realizes Plague needs to be carried into the next village. This she refuses to do. As she learns to use her strengths, her faith in the love of Mother Earth revives, climaxed by her dream sojourn of swimming through granite, sandstone, and underground rivers to save Pomo. This mythic story demands a great deal of suspended disbelief, but Sharman Apt Russell’s history is solid and her writing smoothly adept. I admired her similes – “ideas like fish tasting of her father’s mind” . . . “thumped his head like a furious parent” – and her poetic use of language: “The future and the past were racing toward each other, and the wind they made prickled the hairs on the back of her neck.” Traveling with Teresa through the wake of conquest, the heartbreaking portrait of devastation presented by Russell is valid. The ruin is made more poignant set against the lush landscape of native flora and fauna where Russell, an award-winning nature writer, is so much at home. Highly recommended, Teresa of the New World will satisfy pubescent girls seeking affirmation of their own powers.
BlackAsh13 More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book as party of a Goodreads giveaway. Many thanks to the author for allowing me to read her work. This book was very much unlike books that I typically read. Having said that, I enjoyed this very much. The writing was beautifully, descriptive and expressive. The story started a bit slow for my tastes, but yet was filled with many interesting elements. I was particularly enabled by the supernatural aspects of the main character's life. I loved how she was able to talk to the earth. My only hope was that this would have been a larger part of the story. The only criticism I have is that I really didn't feel as if I knew the characters very well. Despite that, I recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Researched-infused Teresa of the New World is packed with thrills, history, and humor. Author Sharman Apt Russell, respected, widely anthologized, and well-known for her non-fiction books, tells Teresa’s story in a way that is engaging, exciting, charming, and educational. It would be a tall order for a librarian, teacher, or parent to find a book with so much appeal to so many readers.  Fans of the quirky, the brilliant, the tested, the still fearless: behold Teresa and take in a new kind of heroine! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite type of fantasy--a dash of magic, a bit of history, and a strong female character finding her own identity and power. The characters are great and their voices are unique and realistic. Great story for all ages.
GilaPete More than 1 year ago
The trick with a book of this type is that your DO NOT have to suspend belief. The author is an expert in both the time and place as well as the mystical nature of the native people's of the region and that time in new America. This is a wonderful book, the little Teresa so fragile and vulnerable, so loved, then discarded, then finds love in nature and herself - to take her place as a healer. There is nothing in this book I would not want to read aloud to children, especially school children of all ages. Really wonderful!