The Sea-Ringed World: Sacred Stories of the Americas

María García Esperón, trans. from the Spanish by David Bowles, illus. by Amanda Mijangos. Levine Querido, $21.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-64614-015-2
“Fifteen thousand years before Europeans stepped foot in the Americas, people had already spread from tip to tip and coast to coast.” In the preface to this reverently gathered collection of sacred stories from the Americas, García Esperón (A Tortoise Named Harriet) and Bowles (The Rise of the Halfling King) convey their aim to “bring out the faint ancestral voices echoing at the heart of each” presented tale. Preceded by short poems and full of vivid language (“a land of ruddy sunset splendor and deep green night”), the stories fulfill that intention by evoking the unique cadences and traditions of the Indigenous cultures represented. Spanning “north to south, east to west, and back again,” the entries cover a range of locales as well as varied topics and themes, including cosmic tales of creation and destruction (“ ‘Spider Grandmother,’ Hopi tradition”) and the heroic trials of twin brothers visiting the underworld (“ ‘Xibalba,’ K’iche’ (Maya) tradition”). Employing a limited, resonant color palette of blue, black, and white, illustrator Mijangos alternates between decorative headings and full-page depictions to conjure up the world in which each story originates. Visually striking and accessibly written, this book provides readers with a worthy introduction to some enduring Indigenous narratives. Includes a pronunciation guide, culture guide, map, and glossary. Ages 8–up. Agent (for García Esperón and Mijangos): Paulina Delgado, Ediciones el Naranjo. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 12/17/2020
Release date: 02/23/2021
Genre: Children's
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