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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Talking With Mother Earth
by Jorge Argueta
Age Range: 6-8
A beautiful bilingual poetry book that is raw, honest and powerfully moving. Tetl (meaning stone), is a Pipil Nahua Indian descended from the Astecs. The poetry explores the young boy’s connection to Mother Earth / Ne Nunran Tal – ‘a big and precious mother’– who has the power to communicate and heal. Tetl has learned from his grandmother about the spirituality of his ancestors and how they viewed the
earth as being alive with sacred meaning. He wears feathers of beautiful birds to protect him from bad looks and words, and he walks in bare feet so that he is at one with the earth.
“The corn’s spirit
becomes delicious and happy
when we plant its tiny seeds
in Mother Earth”.
Jorge Argueta is a Salvadorean poet who spent much of his childhood in rural El Salvador. His poetry does not shy away from dealing with difficult issues such as racism. In the poem ‘Indian’ Tetl suffers the cruel taunts of other children as they call him ‘Cracked-foot Indian’ because of his bare feet or ‘Little red Indian’, Stinky Indian and ‘Flea-bitten Indian’. Through the ancient teachings of his ancestors Tetl learns to overcome his fear and moves to a self-acceptance and discovery of his love for nature. Each poem stands alone but they are intrinsically linked together by their theme. The lavish illustrations by Lucia Angela Pérez with their rainbow colours add richness to each poem enhancing the meaning of the text.