Beneath the Stone: A Mexican Zapotec Tale

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9780531068359: Beneath the Stone: A Mexican Zapotec Tale

The customs and daily life of the small village of Oaxaca, Mexico, are shown through the eyes of a six-year-old Zapotec Indian boy.

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From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 6-Although the subtitle might imply that this is a folktale, it is in fact a photo essay about a contemporary Zapotec Indian family living in Oaxaca, Mexico. The title refers to their village-Teotitlan del Valle, which means "Beneath the Stone in the Valley," so named by the people who settled there some 3,500 years ago. Wolf focuses on the daily life of six-year-old Leodegario Vicente Golan Ruiz. Vivid full-color photographs capture the boy and his family as they buy food and cook meals; go to school; weave tapetes (rugs/wall hangings) and sell them in Oaxaca City; and celebrate Los Dias de los Muertos, the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, and Christmas. The lively text clearly explains what is going on in the pictures and highlights the dual nature of contemporary Zapotecs, whose cultural traditions are descended from the ancient Indians as well as from the Spanish conquistadors. The importance of family, community, and heritage in Leo's life comes across in both photos and text. By following him through his daily experiences, the author has made the boy's culture accessible to readers, who will recognize similarities as well as differences between his and their own ways of life. A pronunciation guide, map, and a two-page history of the Zapotecs makes this book useful for assignments. However, it will also be pored over and read for pleasure.
Lauren Mayer, New York Public Library
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

In appealing, handsomely composed color photos and a brief but informatative text, a portrait of Leodegario Vicente Golan Ruiz (``Leo'') and his large family, whose tapetes (rugs or hangings) are ``famous throughout Mexico.'' At six, Leo is already a weaver of ``small tapetes in simple patterns.'' Wolf details his typical day (including school), tells how his family celebrates ``The Days of the Dead'' and other holidays, and depicts visits to the ancient capital of the Zapotecs (their ``impressive culture'' was one of several that were flourishing when the Spaniards arrived in A.D. 1519) and to a market (Leo's work sells quickly, but the low price two of his mother's tapetes bring is matter of concern to these hardworking people). An attractive portrayal showing the new along with the old and forthright about the Ruiz family's poverty as well as their strong ties to their culture and one another. Map; pronunciation guide; note about the Zapotecs. (Nonfiction. 5-9) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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