Two books published by the University of New Mexico Press won 2016 Skipping Stones Honor Awards in the Multicultural and International Books category: Lo que mi abuela me dijo / What My Grandmother Told Me, by Maria Paz Eleizegui Weir, with illustrations by Mahala Urra, and The Hero Twins, by Jim Kristofic, with illustrations by Nolan Karras James.
Skipping Stones, a magazine for youth, selected 27 outstanding books and three teaching resources for the annual awards. According to Skipping Stones, “these books promote an understanding of cultures, cultivate cooperation and encourage a deeper understanding of the world’s diversity. They also encourage ecological richness, respect for multiple viewpoints and closer relationships within human societies. These unique titles offer an exciting way to explore and understand diverse cultures, places, societies and their histories.”
In Lo que mi abuela me dijo / What My Grandmother Told Me, Weir shares the centuries-old dichos she learned from her Filipina grandmother: wisdom that offers a daily source of strength and inspiration.
As Weir explains, “Popularly known as ‘dichos’ and ‘refranes,’ they are valued for their wit and wisdom and [are] still used in everyday conversation throughout the Spanish-speaking world. I consider them an important part of my education because they helped me become the person I am today.”
Weir was born in Manila and grew up in a bicultural family of Filipino-Spanish origins. She currently lives in the Puget Sound region of the Pacific Northwest. Urra’s artwork has appeared in Zee Lifestyle and at the Sundance Film Festival, and she has done storyboard work for UK studios.
Told in Navajo, the Diné language, and English, The Hero Twins tells the story of two brothers born to Changing Woman and trained by the Holy People to save their people from the naayéé’, a race of monsters. Colorful illustrations show the action as the twins seek out their father to receive the weapons they need to face the greatest monster of them all: Yé’iitsoh. This story exists in many versions, and all demonstrate the importance of thinking, patience, persistence, bravery, and reverence. Kristofic grew up on the Navajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona.
His memoir, Navajos Wear Nikes: A Reservation Life, was a finalist for the 2012 Spur Award and was named a 2011 Southwest Book of the Year. James is an artist, songwriter, powwow dancer, guitarist, and former rodeo cowboy from Piñon, Arizona. His father is Many Goats Clan (Tł’izi Lání) and his mother is Apache (Chíshí).
For more information, visit unmpress.com or skippingstones.org.