Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: The Myths of Mexico
Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: The Myths of Mexico
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Annotation: A contemporary retelling of the origin myths of Mexico, crafted as a single concrete narrative.
Genre: World history
Catalog Number: #6262938
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Consortium
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 300 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-941026-72-9
ISBN 13: 978-1-941026-72-4
Dewey: 972
LCCN: 2017021739
Dimensions: 23 cm.
Subject Heading:
Indian mythology. Mexico.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
In this dense but readable anthology of captivating tales from pre-Columbian Mexico, a variety of creation and origin myths are ordered chronologically to share a narrative history of the world from the Aztec and Maya perspectives. Background information is provided in the introduction. Add this title to collections of myths from around the world. Pronunciation guide included. Bib., glos.
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Mexican-American Pura Belpré honoree Bowles (Chupacabra Vengeance, 2017, etc.) brings his passion and expertise to this new compilation of mythological tales from Mexico.Beginning as so many mythologies do, before the foundation of the world, Bowles weaves a chronological tale of creation and destruction, death and resurrection drawn from Mesoamerican sources. Early tales explore the failed attempts of humanity under the blazing sun or in terrifying darkness. Though human beings tenaciously gain a lasting foothold in a sea-ringed world, conflict and toil persist. The narrative continues through early pre-Columbian history and on through the Mayan and finally the Aztec empires as Bowles adds threads from Mayan, Toltec, Mixtec, and other Indigenous folklore traditions. From deep cenotes to frost-covered mountains, there are few hopeful or happy endings to be found. Rather, the specters of death, violence, vengeance, and blood sacrifice are ever present, which may turn away readers with less stomach for gore, though the mayhem is rarely gratuitous. Despite the darkness that pervades most of the tales, Bowles' dense yet lyrical prose raises the narrative to a level suited to high mythological tradition and illuminates the foundations on which contemporary Mexican culture is laid. Though an index is sorely needed, students of folklore will find a rich trove to mine here.A needed and worthy addition to any folklore collection. (pronunciation guide, glossary, source notes, bibliography) (Mythology. 14-adult)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Horn Book (8/1/18)
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (page 299-300) and index.
Reading Level: 7.0
Interest Level: 7-12
Lexile: 1010L

The stories in Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky trace the history of the world from its beginnings in the dreams of the dual god, Ometeotl , to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in Mexico and the fall of the great city Tenochtitlan. In this book's beautiful language, we learn the history of the Creator Twins'e* Feathered Serpent and Dark Heart of Sky 'e*and how they built the world on a leviathan's back; of the shape-shifting nahualli; and the aluxes, elfish beings known to help out the occasional wanderer. And finally, we read Aztec tales about the arrival of the blonde strangers from across the sea, the strangers who seek to upend the rule of Moctezuma and destroy the very stories we are reading. David Bowles stitches together the fragmented folklore and mythology of pre-Colombian Mexico into an exciting, unified narrative in the tradition of William Buck's Ramayana , Robert Fagles's Iliad , and Neil Gaiman's Norse Myths . Readers of Norse and Greek mythologies will delight in this rich retelling of stories less explored. These tales hold a touch of magical realism while holding true to their meanings and their Indigenous roots. Legends and myths captured David Bowles's imagination as a young Latino reader; he was fascinated with epics like the Iliad and the Odyssey . Despite growing up on the United States/Mexico border, he had never read a single Aztec or Mayan myth until he was in college. This experience inspired him to reconnect with that forgotten past. Several of his books have incorporated themes from Mexican myths that are told throughout generations such as the middle grade graphic novel, The Chupacabras of the Rio Grande which includes the infamous chupacabra, a creature from Latin American folklore that sucks the blood of livestock, goats, and even people. Pura Belpré award winner, Bowles has written stories that maintain the theme of history and Mexican American folklore. He has written children's books, as well as a middle grade poetry book, They Call Me Guero: A Border Kid's Poems which won the Pura Belpré Honor award, the TIL Best Middle Grade Book award, the Tomás Rivera award, and numerous other honors.


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