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The Poet King of Tezcoco

Written by Francisco Serrano

Illustrated by Pablo Serrano

Translated by Trudy Balch

  • 48 Pages
  • 9780888997876
  • 10.730" x 8.630"
  • Reading age to 9
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Historical
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / People & Places / Mexico


Publication Date April 01, 2007

One of ancient Mexico's most remarkable rulers, Nezahualcoyotl was a brilliant poet, architect and engineer. After reclaiming the throne stolen by his enemies, the Poet King became a great ruler who built palaces, libraries, aqueducts and gardens. Though he endured many tragedies, his poetry brought him comfort and secured his reputation as a literary master.

Nezahualcoyotl's amazing life and achievements are related here in a unique combination of biography and poetry. Though written for children, this beautifully crafted and lushly illustrated story will thrill and inform readers of all ages.

Selected for the New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing (Children's Books) 2007


Francisco Serrano

Francisco Serrano is a noted Mexican poet who also writes plays, librettos and children’s books and edits literary anthologies. He is the author of The Poet King of Tezcoco (New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing), Our Lady of Guadalupe / La Virgen de Guadalupe, and La Malinche. He lives in Mexico City.

Pablo Serrano

Pablo Serrano is a visual artist who studied at UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), where he took classes with the painter Luis Nishizawa. He has shown his work in solo and group exhibitions and received an honorable mention in the Aguascalientes 2002 competition for young artists. He has illustrated two beautiful books about the history of Mexico — The Poet King of Tezcoco and La Malinche. He lives in Mexico City.

Trudy Balch
Trudy Balch worked closely with Enrique Perez Diaz on the translation of My Ocean at the Banff International Literary Translation Centre. In addition to Latin American fiction and non-fiction, she has translated Sephardic folktales, essays for museum catalogues and The Poet of King of Tezcoco by Francisco Serrano, also published by Groundwood. Trudy Balch died in 2010.


"...the inclusion of many of the king's poems - delicate musings on the nature of death; the fleeting beauty of life; and the mysterious 'One who invents himself,' the power behind the lesser gods - provide humanizing insight into the complex ruler whose laws now seem so rigid, but whose heart seems so vulnerable...With the bulk of children's literature on pre-conquest Mexico focused on archaeology and human sacrifice, this gripping tale of troubled hero will be an essential addition to the library collection." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"...a comprehensive introduction to a revered ancient ruler." CM Magazine

"Especially appealing are Pablo Serrano's colorful illustrations, which maintain the character and spirit of the pre-Hispanic codices of the people of the valley of Mexico...[and] readers will be impressed by Nezahualcoyotl's numerous accomplishments as a builder, lawmaker, poet, statesman, and family man." Book Links

"Groundbreaking in its coverage of exciting history, this book offers details that are rarely presented to young people." Booklist

"...a rich reminder of the complex and compelling culture that thrived before the Spaniards' arrival in 1519 and subsequent destruction." Montreal Gazette

"...provides insight into a fascinating era but it is also a great read about an inspirational character from history, whose poetry can now be brought to a whole new audience." Paper Tigers

"Fortunately, Nezahualcoyotl's life story and poetry still exist today for us to learn from and to admire." Multicultural Review

"This fascinating well written, informative and should prove valuable for studies in Mexican history and culture." Resource Links

"This outstanding to be congratulated for introducing people to an important historical figure and one who, as he says, 'will be remembered for my songs.'" Guardian