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The Honey Jar

Written by Rigoberta Menchu

& Dante Liano

Translated by David Unger

Illustrated by Domi

  • 64 Pages
  • 9780888996701
  • 9.750" x 6.560"
  • Reading age to 9
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Legends, Myths, Fables / Other
  • JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Caribbean & Latin America


Publication Date January 16, 2006

An Americas Award Commended Title

In this book -- the companion volume to The Girl From Chimel -- Nobel Peace Prize winner and Maya activist Rigoberta Menchu Tum returns to the world of her childhood.

The Honey Jar brings us the ancient stories her grandparents told her when she was a little girl, and we can imagine her listening to them by the fire at night. These Maya tales include creation myths, a classic story about the magic twins (which can also be found in the Popol Vuh), explanations of how and why certain natural phenomena came to exist, and animal tales. The underworld, the sky, the sun andmoon, plants, people, animals, gods and demi-gods are all present in these stories, and through them we come to know more about the elements that shaped the Mayas' understanding of the world.

Rich and vibrant illustrations by Domi perfectly complement these magical Maya tales.

Long-listed for the Child Magazine Best Book Award 2006

Selected for the Americas Award Commended List 2007


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.

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.

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

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.


"[A] delightful collection...The colours are vivid and brilliant, evoking a tropical atmosphere, and the simple images should appeal to all readers." Resource Links

" ideal compliment to a Maya/Aztec unit, and it is a desirable addition to any Latin American folklore collection..." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"...narrated in a fluid, lively prose that has a natural rhythm of its own, ideal for reading aloud...Domi's bright oil illustrations enhance the sense of plenty with their clear pinks, greens and blues, and their child-like images of first creatures." Toronto Star

"Each tale is succinct and clearly retold. [Domi] illustrates the tales in oils with a depth that communicates the ethnic nature and tone of the tales." Library Media Connection

"In this delightful collection, the author returns to her childhood and relates ancient Mayan myths exactly as her grandparents told them to her. The colours are vivid and brilliant, evoking a tropical atmosphere, and the simple images should appeal to all readers." Resource Links

"Menchu and Domi have created a true golden treasure that anyone with an interest in history, folklore, and culture will have to taste." Multicultural Review

"Menchu paints a rich world, filled with animals, nature and lessons that are never cloying or preachy as she introduces readers to a culture they might not be familiar with." Calgary Herald

"The stories...reflect a distinctive worldview, a broad awareness of nature, and a sense of humor. An impressive collection...that lends insight into the Mayan culture." Booklist

"Universal in appeal, this collection of 12 Mayan tales would be a significant addition to any libraries holdings." School Library Journal