Books by Rubén De Anda

Released: Aug. 1, 1996

For chapter-book readers, an accessible and informative illustrated biography of the winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize, tracing Mench£'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 Mench£ did as a child—on a coffee plantation and later as a maid—gave 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, Mench£ gave dignity to a people and became a role model to the world. (index, not seen, map, b&w photos and illustrations, notes, glossary, further reading) (Biography 7-10) Read full book review >
A CRACK IN THE WALL by Mary Elizabeth Haggerty
Released: Sept. 15, 1993

Mama says that once she finds a job they'll move to a better place; meanwhile, in their seedy interim apartment, there's a large crack that scares Carlos, particularly when it's lit up by cars at night. Mama tries to soothe him, but in the end Carlos finds his own comfort: the crack needn't be a crawling thing; it can be a branch, with leaves Carlos crayons while waiting alone for Mama after school. Later, near Christmas, he decorates it with foil gum wrappers. The effect is disappointing; yet Mama, when she spies them—again, lit by headlights in the dark—sees beautiful stars, as Carlos had imagined. Haggerty's first is quietly telling; the transformed crack makes an effective symbol without overwhelming the warmly human story. De Anda's debut is less strong; in particular, he depicts Carlos as about ten, which seems too old. Still, he evokes the setting and mother-son relationship with sensitivity. Overall, nice. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >