by Lucia Angela Perez
Groundwood Books, Libro Tigrillo
An Americas Award Commended Title
Raw, honest and powerful, these moving bilingual poems by noted Salvadoran poet Jorge Argueta explore a young native boy's connection to Mother Earth and how he is healed from the terrible wounds of racism he has endured. Tetl has learned from his grandmother about the spirituality of his ancestors, about how they viewed the earth as alive with sacred meaning. This helps him move from doubt and fear, created by the taunts of other children, to self-acceptance and a discovery of his love for nature.
Mountains, wind, corn and stones all speak to Tetl, almost seeming to vibrate with life. He feels deep roots in them and, through them, he learns to speak and sing. They reveal his Nahuatl self and he realizes that he is special, beautiful and sacred.These gripping poems have something to teach us all, perhaps especially those who have been either intentionally or casually cruel or racist, as well as those who have been the victims of racism.