Co-written by Hispanic-literature scholar Nogar and Spanish-language expert Lamadrid (The First Tortilla, 2012), a fictionalized account of a miraculous appearance in colonial New Mexico.
The story is based on the legendary astral travels of Sor María de Ágreda, a 17th-century nun in Castillian Spain. Told in both English and Spanish, with Puebloan (Tiwa) vocabulary peppered throughout, the story weaves together the Spanish culture and experiences of Sor María with those of a fictional Puebloan young woman, Paf Sheuri. The narrative highlights the similarities between their cultures, especially in relation to their respective midsummer festivals and their focus on water. Densely saturated illustrations bring the colors of the 17th century to life. Authors’ notes following the narrative add more depth to the history, culture, and languages behind the choices in the text. An included glossary also demonstrates the transcultural nature of the story, as Spanish vocabulary reflects words borrowed from Iberian, Arabic, and Native American sources. The glossary lacks a clear pronunciation guide, however, which would be especially helpful for the Puebloan (Tiwa) words. Formatting issues in the parallel Spanish and English texts sometimes make the story difficult to follow.
A needed “own voices” story of cross-cultural diplomacy, but the density of the story and accompanying notes may limit the appeal to use among academic rather than general audiences. (Historical fiction. 10-14)