Aquí era el paraíso / Here Was Paradise

Aquí era el paraíso / Here Was Paradise

Selección de poemas de Humberto Ak’abal / Selected Poems of Humberto Ak’abal

Written by: Ak'abal, Humberto
Illustrated by: Carling, Amelia Lau
Translated by: Hazelton, Hugh
Edited by: Aldana, Patricia
ages 9 and up / grades 4 and up

A collection of poetry by one of the greatest Indigenous poets of the Americas about the vanished world of his childhood — that of the Maya K’iche’.

Aquí era el paraíso / Here Was Paradise is a selection of poems written by the great Maya poet Humberto Ak’abal. They evoke his childhood in and around the Maya K’iche’ village of Momostenango, Guatemala, and also describe his own role as a poet of the place.

Ak’abal writes about children, and grandfathers, and mothers, and animals, and ghosts, and thwarted love, and fields, and rains, and poetry, and poverty, and death.

The poetry was written for adults but can also be read and loved by young people, especially in this collection, beautifully illustrated by award-winning Guatemalan-American illustrator Amelia Lau Carling.

Ak’abal is famous worldwide as one of the great contemporary poets in the Spanish language, and one of the greatest Indigenous poets of the Americas. Ak’abal first composed his poems in K’iche’ in his mind before writing them down in Spanish.

Key Text Features

foreword

biographical information

poems

translation

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.2
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.5
Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.7
Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.2
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.5
Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.

A collection of poetry by one of the greatest Indigenous poets of the Americas about the vanished world of his childhood — that of the Maya K’iche’.

Aquí era el paraíso / Here Was Paradise is a selection of poems written by the great Maya poet Humberto Ak’abal. They evoke his childhood in and around the Maya K’iche’ village of Momostenango, Guatemala, and also describe his own role as a poet of the place.

Ak’abal writes about children, and grandfathers, and mothers, and animals, and ghosts, and thwarted love, and fields, and rains, and poetry, and poverty, and death.

The poetry was written for adults but can also be read and loved by young people, especially in this collection, beautifully illustrated by award-winning Guatemalan-American illustrator Amelia Lau Carling.

Ak’abal is famous worldwide as one of the great contemporary poets in the Spanish language, and one of the greatest Indigenous poets of the Americas. Ak’abal first composed his poems in K’iche’ in his mind before writing them down in Spanish.

Key Text Features

foreword

biographical information

poems

translation

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.2
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.5
Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.7
Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.2
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.5
Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — Aug 1, 2021
Specifications 172 pages | 6.5 in x 8.3125 in
Written By

HUMBERTO AK'ABAL was born in the Maya K’iche’ village Momostenango in Guatemala in 1952. He worked as a blanket weaver (one of the activities for which Momostenango is renowned,) a shepherd, a sweeper, then a garment maker in a maquila in Guatemala City. When he was thirty-eight, he published his first book of poetry. Ak’abal is famous worldwide as one of the great contemporary poets in the Spanish language, and one of the greatest Indigenous poets of the Americas, having written over twenty-five books. 

He died in January 2019, leaving his widow, Mayulí Bieri, and son Nakil Ak’abal Bieri.

Illustrated by

AMELIA LAU CARLING was born and brought up in Guatemala. Her parents' store sold the thread used by many Maya weavers in their extraordinary work. She was, therefore, in constant contact with Maya culture and creators from an early age. She is the author-illustrator of the celebrated books Alfombras de Aserrín(Sawdust Carpets) and La tienda de Mamá y Papá (Mama and Papa Have a Store) — winner of the Américas Award and the Pura Belpré Award for Illustration— and the illustrator of numerous other books. Though she now lives in the United States, she returns to Guatemala frequently.

Audience ages 9 and up / grades 4 and up
Key Text Features foreword; biographical information; poems; translation
Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.2
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.5
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.5
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.7
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.4
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.2

Commended, Junior Library Guild Selection, 2021

An excellent addition to poetry collections for youth, sure to also find fans among adult readers. STARRED REVIEW

” —School Library Journal

Beautiful imagery ushers readers into a complex conversation.

” —Kirkus Reviews

[A] closely observant and at times mischievous ode to the small moments and details in quotidian life.

” —Booklist

[T]o be savored and ruminated upon.

” —CM Review of Materials

Praise for author Humberto Ak'abal, editor Patricia Aldana, translator Hugh Hazelton and illustrator Amelia Lau Carling for Aquí era el paraíso / Here Was Paradise:

Commended Junior Library Guild Selection, 2021

"An excellent addition to poetry collections for youth, sure to also find fans among adult readers." — School Library Journal, starred review

"Beautiful imagery ushers readers into a complex conversation." — Kirkus Reviews

"[A] closely observant and at times mischievous ode to the small moments and details in quotidian life." — Booklist

“[T]o be savored and ruminated upon.” — CM Review of Materials

” —