ForeWord Reviews

great books independent voices

Mexico!

40 Activities to Experience Mexico Past and Present

Foreword Review — Mar / Apr 1999

Finally, a book about Mexico of which Mexicans themselves would say “¡Bravo!” Loosely organized around craft, cooking and writing activities, ¡Mexico! describes the country’s history from pre-Columbian to the modern day. This is a wonderful book to use in school curriculums for upper elementary students or at home with mixed ages. The main text segments are short and easily read in a few minutes; perfect as a springboard for discussions. The topics are original and varied, covering art, anthropology, politics, economics, religion and even math. The author also provides “Think About It” questions that would make interesting essay assignments.

Milord has used well-known and authoritative sources to compile this latest addition in the Williamson Publishing series (others include, Pyramids!, Knights & Castles, Ancient Greece!) But unlike the previous editions, ¡Mexico! introduces children to both the past and the present and, most importantly, to a neighboring country, shares much of our history and is sadly misrepresented or just plain unknown. Milord’s retelling of history attempts to include the point of view of the conquered as well as the victorious and her representation is both clear and compassionate.

Readers will discover the ancient Maya, inventors of the symbol for zero. They will learn about the Spanish conquest and why Catholicism incorporated many native beliefs in their proselytism of Mexico. Readers will be introduced to famous artists such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Manuel Alvarez Bravo. They will find the meaning of many of Mexico’s more famous holidays: The Day of the Dead, 16 de septiembre, the Epiphany. Overall, the whole package is wrapped around fun and easy activities for a whole class or a family around the kitchen table.

The book is printed to look like an authentic Mexican publication, complete with the national colors. An excellent addition for schools, libraries and families, and a book that Mexican-Americans can be proud of as well.

H. Shaw Cauchy