A resourceful Maya girl crafts rainbow-colored fabric out of recycled plastic bags in this modest tale of ingenuity.
Ixchel longs to weave beautifully colored fabric just like her mother’s. Alas, Mama tells her that she’s too young to partake in this long-standing Maya tradition. Besides, there isn’t any extra thread for her. The fabric, Mama says, “will help pay for your school and books” if it sells well. Wanting to help pay for these things too, Ixchel gathers some materials to weave her own fabric. Tall blades of grass don’t work—the cloth comes out too small and too scratchy—and using wool results in fabric that’s too dull and too dirty. Undeterred, she gets the idea to use the brightly colored plastic bags that litter her village’s fields. The text is presented in both English and a faithful Spanish translation. Inspired by an organization of weavers in Guatemala, Marshall presents here an uncomplicated story meant to stir and inspire. Chavarri’s digital artwork furthers the inspirational intent: colorful and clean, with ample space for wide-eyed facial expressions on Ixchel and other characters, the pictures provide a clear sense for each story moment. Naturally, Ixchel gets her happy ending, and her village does too. The author's note, however, raises some questions about Maya socio-economic realities that situate this story in a more complicated light.
A buoyant, accessible, if simplified tribute to Mayan weaving. (glossary, author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)