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Groundwood Books

The Secret Legacy

Written by Rigoberta Menchú • Written by Dante Liano • Translated by David Unger • Illustrated by Domi

For students in grades 3 - 7 | Published September 01, 2020 | ISBN 9781773065069
JUVENILE FICTION / Legends, Myths, Fables / Caribbean & Latin American

Cover of The Secret Legacy

Regular price $8.99 CAD

64 pages
Digital Format

Also Available in Print

About this book

The Secret Legacy

Rigoberta Menchú • Dante Liano • David Unger • Domi

Nobel Peace Prize winner and noted Maya activist Rigoberta Menchú Tum returns once more to the world of her childhood in The Secret Legacy.

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.

Rich and vibrant illustrations by noted Mazatec-Mexican artist Domi perfectly complement this magical Maya tale.

Key Text Features

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

Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.

About the Creators

Rigoberta Menchú

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.

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.

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 as well as The Night the Moon Fell and The Race of Toad and Deer by Pat Mora. She is Mazateca and lives in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Awards and Praise
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.
  • Runner-up International Latino Book Awards - Best Picture Book - English, 2008
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