Wednesday, September 12, 2012

REFORMA Review: The Secret Legacy

The Secret Legacy. 
By Rigoberta Menchú with Dante Liano, Illus. by Domi. Trans. by David Unger. 
Groundwood Books, 2008. 64 pages. $19.95 (Hardcover). ISBN 978-0-88899-896-5.  
Grades 3-6. 

In this third book from the team that introduced young readers to the lives and folklore of Maya Guatemalans in The Girl from Chimel and The Honey Jar, readers meet seven-year-old Ixkem who has been selected by her grandfather to continue the tradition of guarding the sacred cornfields from animal predators. On the first day of her new job, the girl is spirited underground by a group of tiny magical nahuales or animal spirits that encourage Ixkem to tell them stories of human customs in exchange for a special secret meant for her grandfather.  As she weaves each tale, the girl introduces Mayan folktales to both the reader and the animal spirits, and is eventually returned to her family where she shares the special secret the nahuales have sent. Menchú’s unique folktale collection, perfectly complemented by Domi’s naïve illustrations, will intrigue older elementary children and encourage them to learn more about Mayan customs and folklore.


Naidoo, J. C. (2009). The Secret Legacy. Written by Rigoberta Menchú with Dante Liano. Illus. by Domi. Trans. by David Unger. REFORMA Newsletter, 27 (1/2), 26

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