________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 8 . . . . December 9, 2005

cover

The Girl from Chimel.

Rigoberta Menchú. Illustrated by Domi.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood, 2005.
56 pp., cloth, $18.95.
ISBN 0-88899-666-7.

Subject Headings:
Menchú, Rigoberto-Juvenile literature.
Mayas-Guatemala-Juvenile literature.
Maya authors-Guatemala-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Carole Reeve.

** /4

excerpt:

When I was a little girl in Chimel…

Grandfather told us old stories. Mama would cure our wounds. We’d eat blackberries with brown sugar and give away small jars of honey. Rivers would reflect the sky like a glass snake. The plants were green and abundant and honeycombs were full of bees. The rivers, the swamps, the fields, all of them were full of frogs, toads, crabs and snakes – when I was a little girl in Chimel.

Rigoberta Menchú vividly describes what it was like to grow up in Chimel, a small Guatemalan village, before war ravaged her country. Menchu’s writing is very descriptive and visual:

Once a week she’d bathe him in the river. Though he kicked and screamed as if being tortured, she soaped him down, rubbing and scrubbing him with a loofah. Then she’d run a bristle brush over his skin until he was clean and pink, as if he had walked out of a book. She dried him with a shawl her mother had knit for her. But the piglet wiggled out of her hands and got filthy right away, for a pig is nothing but a pig. He wasn’t like a dog that comes out of its bath and begins to shake like an earthquake, wetting everyone around it.

     Menchú does a good job of explaining the Spanish words in the text and also provides a glossary at the back of the book. Menchú, a human rights activist, has received numerous awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize. She is a very important voice and definitely one worth reading; however, her stories may be of more interest to adults than they are to children. Mexican artist Domi, provides colourful illustrations that greatly enhance the text.

Recommended with reservations.

Carole Reeve is the Assistant Branch Head of the Osborne Public Library in Winnipeg, MB.

 

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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