Maria and the Stars of Nazca
   María y las Estrellas de Nazca
written by Anita Jepson-Gilbert
translated by Carmen A. Casis

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The Nazca Lines

Maria Reiche

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Maria and the Stars of Nazca / María y las Estrellas de Nazca

by Anita Jepson-Gibert

Many know about Nazca and its mysterious giant line drawings in the Peruvian desert, but few know about Maria Reiche, a German woman, and her lifelong dedication to them. This bilingual children’s book is illustrated by Rodger Osban in a style as uncluttered and simplified as the Nazca drawings themselves and is translated to Spanish by Carmen A. Casis. Written in simple, poetic prose, the story describes the drawings and Maria’s role in preserving them and concludes with the suggestion of a lovely possible purpose their designers may have had in mind.

This book makes a great addition to bilingual and Spanish classrooms, as well as a good resource for South American culture and history.

Reviewed by Patricia Dubrava
Translator and teacher of Spanish and Creative Writing
Author of two volumes of poetry: Choosing the Moon and Holding the Light, a finalist for the Colorado Book Awards.

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                         Maria and the Stars of Nazca
            Great for Spanish-Speakers Learning English

     Maria and the Stars of Nazca is not just a book; it’s an experience.  The feel of the glossy pages and the fantastic artistic renditions kinesthetically draw the reader in.  The topic is complex, yet the ancient Peruvian drawings are simplistic.  Similarly, the simple verbiage in Maria and the Stars of  Nazca focuses on this befuddling mystery with a clear, rudimentary approach. 

     It’s easy to envision an ESL class of Spanish speakers taking this text and blinding the Spanish for a presentation of the story of Maria.  Then, the teacher could expose the Spanish for a more thorough discussion and lesson on Maria and the language.  The book offers a variety of teaching options to meet many student learning styles: an engaging topic for verbal discussions, CD audio delivery, clear text for beginning ESL students, wonderful pictures for visual interpretation, unique vocabulary study for intermediate / advanced ESL students, writing invention with many possible topics, and a warm, non-fiction story.  Enjoy!

Dr. Diana Holguin-Balogh
TESL Program Director
Front Range Community College
Boulder County Campus

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             Dual Language Poetry and Non-Fiction, Too!

This beautifully written and illustrated children’s book is about the fascinating large line drawings (technically known as geoglyphs) in the Nazca region of Peru.  “Maria” refers to Maria Reiche, a German mathematician who first learned about the geoglyphs while living in Peru.  She studied the line drawings for some 50+ years and worked to preserve them for future generations.  Peruvians mourned when she died in 1998 at the age of 95.

 

The dual-language (English on left, Spanish on right) poetry book is a magnificent blend of reality and fantasy, written in a lyrical style that appeals to children and adults alike.  The full, two-page spread illustrations by Rodger Osban are based on actual aerial photographs of the geoglyphs.  Children will be thoroughly enchanted by the giant spider, playful monkey, stretched lizard, scared dog, crooked-necked bird, laughing iguana, and the long-beaked hummingbird.  The expert Spanish translation was done by Carmen Casís, a Panama native and retired Professor Emeritus of English & American Literature at Denver’s Regis University.

The accompanying audio CD is very well done and consists of an English version performed by the author and a Spanish version performed by the translator.  It is a mini-CD that is playable on practically any CD player.

This unique title (a WorldCat search revealed very few publications on this topic written for children, none of them in Spanish) deserves wide distribution.  It is highly recommended for public and elementary school libraries.  It will be a hit at story time!  Academic libraries supporting children’s literature and literacy programs should also purchase it.

 

Reviewer:  Orlando Archibeque (Social Science Bibliographer, Auraria Library, University of Colorado at Denver)