Luz Jimenez, Daughter of the Nahua
A TRUE TALE WITH
A CHERRY ON TOP
for Young Readers
(pub. 8.17.2021) 48 pages
Author: Gloria Amescua
Illustrator: Duncan Tonatiuh
Character: Luz Jimenez
Overview: "As a young Nahua girl in Mexico during the early 1900s, Luz learned how to grind corn in a metate, to twist yarn with her toes, and to weave on a loom. By the fire at night, she listened to stories of her community’s joys, suffering, and survival, and wove them into her heart.
But when the Mexican Revolution came to her village, Luz and her family were forced to flee and start a new life. In Mexico City, Luz became a model for painters, sculptors, and photographers such as Diego Rivera, Jean Charlot, and Tina Modotti. These artists were interested in showing the true face of Mexico and not a European version. Through her work, Luz found a way to preserve her people's culture by sharing her native language, stories, and traditions. Soon, scholars came to learn from her.
This moving, beautifully illustrated biography tells the remarkable story of how model and teacher Luz Jiménez became “the soul of Mexico”—a living link between the indigenous Nahua and the rest of the world. Through her deep pride in her roots and her unshakeable spirit, the world came to recognize the beauty and strength of her people." Tantalizing taste:
" A girl stared at the stars sprinkling the hammock of sky.
Like many other nights she listened to the
whisperings of the ancient Aztecs in the wind.
She heard their xochicuicatl, their flower-song.
She listened as the elders repeated tales their grandfathers had told.
tales their grandfathers' grandfathers had told:
how sacred streams and mountains protect them,
how the Nahua lost their land to Cortes, the conqueror,
and to the Spaniards who followed them.
She was Luz Jimenez,
child of the flower-song people,
the powerful Aztecs,
who called themselves Nahua -
who lost their land, but who did not disappear."
And something more: Gloria Amescua shares in the Author's Notel: "At the University of Texas at Austin, I found a pamphlet announcing a symposium about Luz Jimenez in 2000, and I was immediately fascinated. Unfortunately, the meeting had already passed, but I kept the pamphlet anyway. In 2013, I wrote my first draft of this manuscript. I was drawn to Luz Jimenez, as both a teacher and as a Latina who grew up in Texas almost losing my Spanish language and culture. I've had to work at regaining both."