In the book I just reviewed John Deere showed ingenuity and
persistance. Ixchel, protagonist of Linda Flovitz Marshall's
bilingual Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora Del Arcoiris, shows the same
wonderful character traits.
In Guatemala Ixchel's mother weaves beautiful cloth, hoping to
earn enough to pay for her daughter's school books and fees. Ixchel
desperately wants to help. But money is tight and there is no extra
Ixchel makes her own loom and tries found materials. Grass
blades make a dull, scratchy fabric. Clumps of sheep shed wool result
in a thick, dirty, boring mess. But there are colorful discarded
plastic bags all over. Perhaps they are what she needs.
Although Ixchel is a fictitious character, her story is very
much fact based.
"The Mayan people in contemporary Guatemala are among the most
skilled artistic weavers in the world. Yet they face many problems:
poverty, lack of education, and unemployment. To earn money for food
and education, Mayan weavers have begun repurposing plastic bags as
"threads" that they weave on traditional backstrap looms...Sold
through fair trade cooperatives in the United States and other
countries, their products bring much needed money to the weavers'
families. At the same time the weavers help clean their villages and
keep traditional Mayan values alive."
Although I consider Rainbow Weaver to be a must acquire for
school and public libraries, I ask any family who can afford to to buy
the book. Part of the proceeds will help weavers and their families
with stuff like medical and dental care and education.
Rainbow Weaver presents a summer challenge for readers of all
ages: how many unwanted items, often underfoot, and we find clever
used for. I found that the boxes my tea comes in make great plastic
free storage files for my thousands of 3" x 5" cards and boxes for
On a personal note, yesterday the Young African Leaders visited Orono
Community Garden. John Jemmison and I talked about the garden. We
had a group discussion of agriculture and climate change. Then they
helped us harvest garlic and prepare beds for replanting. Many hands
made light work. And it was such a joy to have them join us.
I will have two unexpected chances to join them. Tonight I will be
going to a dinner dance. I feel like Cinderella. I'm not in the
market for Prince Charming. My 28th wedding anniversary is tomorrow.
I just love to celebrate with people who know how. Then Saturday I am
invited to another get together. I am living the dream!
John Jemmison joins me in sending a great big shout out to the amazing
garden crew we had with us yesterday.
Sent from my iPod