Title: Napí Funda un Pueblo / Napí Makes a Village
Author: Antonio Ramírez
Translator: Elisa Amado
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Concepts: economic development, migration, economic role of government, human resources, natural resources
Review: A young girl named Napí has vivid recollections of when her community, members of an indigenous Mexican group known as the Mazatec, had to relocate from their village to an undeveloped and inhospitable area far away. The government planned to build a dam that would flood their entire village and those around it, so it needed to convince the villagers to leave.
When Napí’s father realized that the new land the government had given them was of inferior quality, he almost left Mexico to find work in the United States. However, Grandfather convinced him of the importance of resisting, staying alive, and remaining together. Napí remembered her grandfather’s lesson when she herself wanted to act out in anger and fear after her father suffered a serious injury while harvesting the rice.
Based on real events in the life of illustrator Domi, who is herself Mazateca, this unique story communicates to young readers the hardships that indigenous groups have experienced around the world when powerful governments have forced them to move. Told from a child’s point of view in both Spanish and English and illustrated with bold watercolor paintings, this new book will both inform and interest a wide readership.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children