CM . . . .
Volume V Number 7 . . . . November 27, 1998
And when the time came to celebrate the feast of the gods, when there was dancing and singing, then the Spaniards appeared. They blocked the doorways. They cut off the hands of the drummers. They cut off their heads. Their heads rolled far from their bodies.Based on the first-person account of a friar who witnessed the slaughter of the ancient Mexican civilization by the Spanish, Broken Shields lays out history without hiding the truth. The history of the Spanish conquerors was brutal and bloody; they were a force against which the Aztecs could not survive.
The text is simple, but highly descriptive, and is divided over pages that include interesting illustrations that, according to the publisher, were probably done by natives educated by Spaniards. The subject of the text is portrayed as a white object in the accompanying illustration. A glossary at the end explains some terms and historical names.
Study of the Spanish language is now becoming more popular because of NAFTA, and Spanish-American history cannot be far behind, especially with the struggles of the indigenous people of Mexico in the news. Anyone teaching about Central and South America will find Broken Shields relevant - it is not a book which a young child would understand as a read-alone book. However, its simplicity packs a large impact for anyone wanting to learn about history the way it really happened.
Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian at Niakwa Place School in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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