English & some Nahuatl
Gloria Amescua & Duncan Tonatiuh
Y’all know that biographies are my favorite genre, but I had never heard of Luz Jiménez before! Reading more about her, Luz was a total badass (and a Nahua teacher, art model, and overall powerhouse).
Luz grew up in a Mexican village drinking in her culture and reveling in the traditional skills that her family taught her. Indigenous Mexicans weren’t permitted to attend school, but Luz harbored a secret dream to become a teacher. Several years later in an attempt to assimilate the Nahua people, Luz got the chance to gain a colonized education but refused to forget her ancestral language and skills. When the Mexican Revolution razed her village, Luz and her family settled in Mexico City where she became involved with the art scene.
This book is beautiful and comprehensive in the way it emphasizes Luz’s love for her culture. She worked with professors to dictate folklore in Nahuatl and lectured on her culture. In the back is additional information, a timeline of her life, and a photo of her modeling. Duncan Tonatiuh’s artwork is stunning (as always) and he illustrated historical figures (like Diego Rivera) that Luz worked with.
The narrative speaks openly about colonization and the resistance that Luz had to it, intentionally working to preserve her Indigenous heritage by teaching others. This is a phenomenal book and one that centers the necessity of cultural preservation and resistance to colonization and assimilation!
This book was kindly sent by Abrams Kids, and is being released today! All opinions are my own.
Gloria Amescua is an educator, poet, and children’s book writer. She was awarded Lee & Low’s 2016 New Voices Honor Award for her manuscript about Luz Jiménez and was named a finalist for the Austin Chapter Cynthia Leitich Smith Mentorship Award and We Need Diverse Books’ Mentorship program. This is her debut picture book.
Duncan Tonatiuh was born in Mexico City and grew up in San Miguel de Allende. His books have received many awards over the years. He currently lives in San Miguel with his wife and children but travels to the United States often.