Groundwood Books Imprint Logo

The Girl from Chimel

Written by Rigoberta Menchu

Translated by David Unger

Written by Dante Liano

Illustrated by Domi

  • 56 Pages
  • 9780888996664
  • 9.750" x 6.600"
  • Reading age to 9
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / People of Color
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / Family / Multigenerational
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / People & Places / Caribbean & Latin America


Publication Date July 03, 2005

An American Library Association Notable Books List selection

Nobel Peace Prize winner and noted Maya activist Rigoberta Menchu Tum brings the world of her childhood vividly alive in The Girl from Chimel.

Before the thirty-six year war in Guatemala, despite the hardships the Maya people had endured since the time of the Conquest, life in their highland villages had a beauty and integrity that were changed forever by the conflict and brutal genocide that were to come. Menchu's stories of her grandparents and parents, of the natural world that surrounded her as a young girl, and her retelling of the stories that she was told present a rich, humorous and engaging picture of that lost world.

Marvelous illustrations by Domi draw on the Maya landscape and the rich visual vocabulary that can be found in the weavings and crafts for which the Maya are world-renowned.

Selected for the ALA Notable Books List 2006


Rigoberta Menchu
Rigoberta Menchu Tum won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. She lives in Guatemala and devotes herself to fighting for the rights of Maya Guatemalans and other First Nations in the Americas as head of the Fundacion Rigoberta Menchu Tum. She has received numerous international awards and honorary degrees and has also written Crossing Boarders: An Autobiography, I Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala; as well as two books for younger readers - The Girl from Chimel and The Honey Jar, both illustrated by Domi and published by Groundwood Books. The Secret Legacy is co-authored with Dante Liano, an eminent, award-winning Guatemalan writer who now lives in Milan.

David Unger
David Unger, originally from Guatemala, is a well-known translator, poet and novelist who lives in New York City.

Dante Liano
Dante Liano is an eminent Guatemalan writer and National Literature Award laureate. He currently lives in Milan, where he teaches Latin American literature. He is the author of The Man from Montserrat, The San Andres Mystery and co-authored of The Girl from Chimel.

Domi's wonderful illustrations appear in many children's books, including the Napí titles by Antonio Ramírez; The Night the Moon Fell (La noche que se cayó la luna) and The Race of Toad and Deer (La carrera del sapo y el venado) by Pat Mora; The Girl from Chimel, The Honey Jar and The Secret Legacy by Rigoberta Menchú; and The Story of Colors by Zapatista hero Sub-Comandante Marcos. Domi is Mazateca and grew up in Oaxaca, Mexico.


"[Menchu's] writing evokes a world of wild, friendly magic in which every living creature has its own spirit double." Horn Book

"...a vivid memoir of [Menchu's] girlhood in the then unspoiled village of Chimel...the book memorializes an idyllic interdependency between the human and the natural..." Canadian Literature

"...the text throughout is captivating and provides a rare glimpse at indigenous Guatemalan and Mayan culture." Bulletin

"Created with strong, primitive forms and vibrant colors, full-page oil paintings brighten half the double-page spreads and provide memorable scenes of Chimel through three generations." Booklist

"Domi...adds full-page, folk-art style scenes in glowing colors...the effect is as atmospheric as the text." Kirkus Reviews

"Domi's colorful flat oil paintings, with traditional Mayan symbols and motifs, perfectly complement this collection." Book Links

"This slim book would be a welcome addition to a school or public library." Resource Links