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THE POET KING OF TEZCOCO by Francisco Serrano Kirkus Star


A Great Leader of Ancient Mexico

by Francisco Serrano & illustrated by Pablo Serrano & translated by Trudy Balch

Pub Date: May 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-88899-787-6
Publisher: Groundwood

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)