THE POET KING OF TEZCOCO

A GREAT LEADER OF ANCIENT MEXICO

Equally accomplished in war, letters and (relatively) compassionate government, a strong ally of the Aztec Empire and a ruler who turned the city-state of Tezcoco (more often spelled Texcoco) into the Athens of pre-Conquest Mexico, Nezahualcóyotl is a historical figure whose name is well worth learning to pronounce. Serrano pulls together the sketchy, half-legendary details of his life into a coherent narrative, which has been adapted and translated from the Spanish by Balch. Driven into exile as a young man, Nezahualcóyotl definitely beat the odds by surviving years of ruthless pursuit, then formed an alliance with neighboring powers, returned to his home in triumph and settled down to establish a new code of laws, as well as several governing bodies and cultural institutions. Enhanced by plenty of Jo Anne Engelbert’s strongly translated samples of his poetry and stylized illustrations based on scenes and vignettes from the Xólotl Codex, an important early source of biographical information, this study presents both a portrait of an admirable figure and a reminder that the Aztecs weren’t the only great Mesoamerican civilization. (map, chronology, source and resource notes) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-88899-787-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2007

ALL BY HERSELF

POEMS

Prose poems celebrate the feats of young heroines, some of them famous, and some not as well-known. Paul (Hello Toes! Hello Feet!, 1998, etc.) recounts moments in the lives of women such as Rachel Carson, Amelia Earhart, and Wilma Rudolph; these moments don’t necessarily reflect what made them famous as much as they are pivotal events in their youth that influenced the direction of their lives. For Earhart, it was sliding down the roof of the tool shed in a home-made roller coaster: “It’s like flying!” For Rudolph, it was the struggle to learn to walk without her foot brace. Other women, such as Violet Sheehy, who rescued her family from a fire in Hinckley, Minnesota, or Harriet Hanson, a union supporter in the fabric mills of Massachusetts, are celebrated for their brave decisions made under extreme duress. Steirnagle’s sweeping paintings powerfully exude the strength of character exhibited by these young women. A commemorative book, that honors both quiet and noisy acts of heroism. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-201477-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

IF A BUS COULD TALK

THE STORY OF ROSA PARKS

Ringgold’s biography of Rosa Parks packs substantial material into a few pages, but with a light touch, and with the ring of authenticity that gives her act of weary resistance all the respect it deserves. Narrating the book is the bus that Parks took that morning 45 years ago; it recounts the signal events in Parks’s life to a young girl who boarded it to go to school. A decent amount of the material will probably be new to children, for Parks is so intimately associated with the Montgomery Bus Boycott that her work with the NAACP before the bus incident is often overlooked, as is her later role as a community activist in Detroit with Congressman John Conyers. Ringgold, through the bus, also informs readers of Parks’s youth in rural Alabama, where Klansmen and nightriders struck fear into the lives of African-Americans. These experiences make her refusal to release her seat all the more courageous, for the consequences of resistance were not gentle. All the events are depicted in emotive naive artwork that underscores their truth; Ringgold delivers Parks’s story without hyperbole, but rather as a life lived with pride, conviction, and consequence. (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-689-81892-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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