- The Sea-Ringed World: Sacred Stories of the Americas by María García Esperón
Esperón, María García The Sea-Ringed World: Sacred Stories of the Americas; tr. from the Spanish by David Bowles; illus. by Amanda Mijangos. Levine Querido, 2021 [240p] Trade ed. ISBN 9781646140152 $21.99 Reviewed from digital galleys R Gr. 4-9
Cosmic creation and destruction, gods, spirits, love, death, sacrifice, trickery, transformation, conquest, migration: this collection of indigenous sacred stories spans a huge breadth of material from all across the Americas. These fifty-six tales give glimpses into how pre-Columbian civilizations from the tip of the Andes to Canada understood the world, their place in it, and their relationship to the other beings with whom they and their ancestors shared its resources and beauties. The few First Peoples and northern Native American stories included in a collection largely focused on Meso and South American traditions may encourage conversations about contemporary geopolitical boundaries and settler colonialism, as well [End Page 210] as furthering interest in how traditional stories have been collected and which stories can or cannot be shared with outsiders to living indigenous cultures. Illustrations in blue, black, and white feature robust, energetic figures and repeating geometric motifs. The text was originally published in Mexico as Diccionario de Mitos de América, and David Bowles' graceful translation renders this volume an excellent addition to any storytelling collection. It will also be of great interest to fans of folkloric magical realism such as McCall's Summer of the Mariposas (BCCB 12/12). The book includes an introduction, glossary, pronunciation guide, notes on transcription, list and map of cultures represented in the tales, and bibliography of works in English and Spanish.