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The Secret Legacy

Written by Rigoberta Menchu

& Dante Liano

Translated by David Unger

Illustrated by Domi

  • 64 Pages
  • 9780888998965
  • 10.000" x 6.380"
  • Reading age to 9
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Legends, Myths, Fables / Other


Publication Date September 15, 2008

Seven-year-old Ixkem is chosen by her grandfather amongst all the villagers to inherit the responsibility for tending his special cornfield. Ixkem goes to the field and begins to shout and stomp to frighten away the animals who would like to share the harvest. Suddenly a mass of tiny creatures appear -- the b'e'n -- secret animal spirits of which there is one for every human on earth. They take Ixkem into the underworld, where she tells them the amazing stories that her grandfather has told her. In exchange the b'e'n whisper a secret for her to take to her grandfather. Once he hears the secret, he is ready go to his final sleep in peace, knowing that the b'e'n and Ixkem have exchanged their knowledge and his legacy is secure.

Runner-up for the International Latino Book Awards - Best Picture Book - English 2008


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.


"Magical and riveting, this collection of tales is a fascinating read...A crowd pleaser and highly educational, The Secret Legacy is a recommended first purchase for any library." CM Magazine

"The Mexican artist Domi has provided bright paintings in a naturalistic, folk-art style. The lyrical translation preserves the story teller's voice. This companion to The Honey Jar (Groundwood, 2006), by the same team, will be equally useful in multicultural collections." School Library Journal