El niño de maíz / The Boy of Maize
Gorgeous bilingual picture book introduces children to
indigenous origin story of Latin America.
by Mario Bencastro
Illustrations by Christina Rodriguez
Publication Date: May 31, 2022
Imprint: Piñata Books
In a land where the yellow jaguar lives and the sun rises behind green mountains, “the earth was filled with joy” when Balám, the boy of maize, was born. He climbed on top of a big, blue turtle, and along with an assortment of other animals, began the journey to the village.
Excited to spread the word about the child’s birth, the creatures worked together—each utilizing its special skills—in perfect harmony with Mother Earth. The turtle walked so slowly that he sent the louse ahead to give the good news to the townspeople. But the louse fell asleep in the road, so the toad swallowed him and said, “I will take you with the message.” The toad, exhausted from taking big leaps, was swallowed by the snake, and the snake, unable to cross the river, was swallowed by the hawk. When the bird flew into the village, the louse delivered the message, but long days and nights passed and still the boy did not arrive! Would the great turtle be able to deliver the special boy?
Capturing the essence of nature while telling the mythical story that unites Central American countries around the importance of corn, this enchanting bilingual picture book introduces children to the Mayan origin story of a people made of maize. Written by acclaimed Salvadoran writer Mario Bencastro, it contains beautiful illustrations by accomplished children’s book artist Christina Rodriguez.