White Ravens: Colombia
Colombia (Spanish) - 1996 - 169
León Zamora, Aníbal Eduardo (text)
Meza B., Mariluz (illus.)
(An Aymará Dream)
[Medellín]: Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, 1995. 247 p.
Peru - Andean Highlands/Everyday life - Village life - Aymará/Everyday life
Set in a small village in the Peruvian Andes, this story focusses on a group of children belonging to the Aymará people, who live still today in the highlands of Peru, Bolivia and northern Chile. Described from the perspective of the boy, Basilio, this story of village life connects the past and the present in many short chapters. In this way the Peruvian author succeeds in creating a lively and authentic picture of everyday life of the Aymará, their traditions, legends, their religion and the way they see and understand the world about them. (12+) ☆
Colombia (Spanish) - 1997 - 177
Reyes, Yolanda (text)
Rabanal, Daniel (illus.)
El terror de sexto »B« y otras historias del colegio
(The terror of class 6B and other school stories)
Bogotá: Santillana, 1995. 96 p.
In a skillful, psychologically insightful manner Reyes tells seven stories about everyday life at school each with a different main protagonist. They are school children that can be found anywhere. The reader will recognize them and identify with their experiences such as falling in love or dreading to face the next day of school. The stories are witty and humorous, at times subversive, and in each case showing an irreverent attitude toward school as an institution. The author does not try to pretend to be one of the kids by using a supposedly youthful slng, nor does she pointa moralizing finger. (10+)
Colombia (Spanish) - 1999 - 175
Román, Celso (text)
El imperio de las cinco lunas
(The kingdom of the five moons)
Bogotá: Ed. Norma, 1998. 346 p.
(Colección torre de papel : Torre amarilla)
Fratricidal war - Good/Evil
The fantasy world which is presented in this novel bears strong resemblance to the reality of contemporary world in Latin America. The plot draws upon the legend of the five moons which prophecize the war between the fraternal countries of the tapirs and the pecaris and the ascendancy of the spider and snake kingdoms. The story focusses on a hero whose powers have been endowed by the animals, each represented by one moon. On his journey through the kingdom of evil he is confronted with difficulties that shape his character and allows the author to cast light on the values and problems facing Colombian society today. This is an initiation novel with a circular narrative structure that renews the meaning of traditional legends. (11+) ☆
(Premio Latinoamericano de Literatura Infantil y Juvenil Norma - Fundalectura, 1998)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2000 - 166
La venganza de la vaca
(The cow's revenge)
Bogotá: Grupo Ed. Norma, 1998. 114 p.
Cow - Unexplained phenomenon
A group of teenagers are involved in a series of mysterious misfortunes, each related to cows, which seem to be connected with a conspiracy or other inexplicable circumstances. Held together by an overall storyline, nine stories are told that draw upon an arsenal of horror and spooky stories and take on a bizarre note through the subject »cow.« The suspense stems from the fact that evil is not tangible, but rather in the heads of the protagonists, and always unavoidable. All in all, the individual stories are more successful than the outside story, that loses its effect somewhat by having a rational conclusion. (12+)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2000 - 167
Coll, Ivar da (text/illus.)
¡No, no fui yo!
(No! It wasn't me!)
Santafé de Bogotá: Panamericana Ed., 1998. 38 p.
(Que pase el tren)
Excursion - Embarrassment - Friendship
In rhymed verses Ivar da Coll tells the story of three friends who take an excursion one sunny day to have a picnic in an idyllic meadow. Refreshed and with full stomachs, each of the three lets slip some fairly unpleasant noises on the journey home. This is, of course, most embarrassing and leads to resolute denials. The guilt is always passed off to some mysterious fabled beast - a rather unsettling idea that causes them to hurry home as fast as possible to crawl into their safe beds. Ivar da Coll illustrates his humorous story of the three animal friends with appealing colored drawings that give amusing renderings of each stage of this »uproarious« excursion. (3+)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2001 - 172
Rosero, Evelio José (text)
Castellanos, Diana (illus.)
(Knife <proper name>)
Bogotá ; Barcelona [et al.] : Grupo Ed. Norma, 2000. 154 p.
(Colección torre de papel : Torre azul)
Teacher - Hatred - Prejudice
The first-person-narrator and his brother are not too thrilled when their notorious history teacher, nicknamed »Cuchilla« (»The Knife«) by the schoolchildren, moves into the house next-door. They secretely observe him and have to come to the somber conclusion that he leads a perfectly normal life: he sometimes comes home drunk, he has friends, makes music and so on. Slowly, the human qualities of the despised teacher become apparent. The story is told with humour and convinces with its concise language. With economic means, the author succeeds in developing memorable characters. (10+)
(Premio Norma-Fundalectura; 2000)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2002 - 167
Repún, Graciela (adapt.)
Weiss, Mónica (illus.)
(Legends from Argentina)
Bogotá [et al.] : Grupo Ed. Norma, 2001. 126 p.
(Colección torre de papel : Torre azul)
16 myths and legends of indigenous peoples from Argentina, from the north of the country all the way to the Tierra del Fuego, were rewritten for this slender volume. Like in many texts of this genre, these tales follow man's inclination to explain the origins of natural phenomena or animals as, for example, the constellation of the Southern Cross or various birds. The language is restrained and almost sparse – and it is from this very restriction that the text derives its intensity and poetic impact. The timeless quality of orally transmitted poetry is preserved, still its age is palpable; at the same time, the author has found her own convincing style suitable to pass on the timeless tales of the elders to the young readers of today's generation. (9+)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2003 - 169
Bogotá : Ed. Norma, 2002. 88 p.
Egypt – Pharaoh – Wisdom – Storytelling
A pharaoh sends his eight sons out into all corners of his territory with the mission to find out wherein the strength of his people lies. The sons return from their travels, during which they have studied ancient writings and consulted wise scribes, with stories of love, hatred, courage, or envy. The pharaoh understands that the real strength does not reside in the single person, but that it is rooted in the sum of memories, stories, and experiences of all the people. Lilia Lardone narrates the brief framing story and the eight example-like tales in a symbolic, archaic- sounding language. Her unusual, lyrical tone transports the reader into a world long gone. (12+)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2004 - 161
Heredia, María Fernanda (text)
Díaz, Carlos Manuel (illus.)
Amigo se escribe con H
(You write Amigo with H)
Bogotá [et al.] : Grupo Ed. Norma, 2003. 125 p.
(Torre de papel : Azul)
Friendship – First love
María Antonia, the 10-year-old first-person narrator, is an alert girl, sometimes terribly disheartened, at other times courageous. She relates her everyday life – in which H, a boy from the neighbourhood, plays an important role – with a keen sense of observation, wit, and a hint of black humour. On the cusp between childhood and adolescence, things just seem to become more complicated – especially if they concern love and the first sexual sensations. That’s exactly what happens to María Antonia and H. The Ecuadorian author captures happy and less happy moments of a normal young life with great sensitivity and respect for the emotional turmoil of her two protagonists. (9+)
(Premio Latinoamericano de Literatura Infantil y Juvenil Norma-Fundalectura; 2003)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2004 - 162
Bogotá : Ed. Trescabezas, 2003. Each vol.  p. (4 volumes in a slipcase: Zooacuático; Zooaéreo; Zooígneo; Zootelúrico)
Animals – Imagination
Zootica presents a magnificent panoply of animals. The four square little volumes, with their black cloth binding and differently coloured dust jackets are gathered in an appealing cardboard slipcase and immediately catch the reader’s attention. Each of the books without words deals with one of the four natural elements: fire, water, air, and earth. Mysterious and bizarre fantasy creatures, which seem to have been inspired by Hieronymus Bosch, surrealist art, or maybe the imagery of American Indians’ folk art, fill the pages. With long tentacles, sharp spines, flame-like tongues, etc., they inspire the reader’s imagination and eagerness to interpret the pictures. (6+)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2005 - 160
Manual de pelea
(Manual of quarrelling)
Bogotá : Grupo Ed. Norma, 2004. 252 p.
(Colección La otra orilla)
Family – School – Peer group – Hierarchy
In his debut novel, the author deals with the life of middle class teenagers in the city of Medellín. The triangle of family, school, and friends forms the determining coordinates for 14-year-old Santiago. Hovering between a cocky macho attitude and the adolescent feeling of insecurity, the protagonist makes readers share his daily life, concerns, and conflicts, as well as his first experiences with the opposite sex. The meticulous description of the hierarchy among teenagers is quite disturbing: Without compassion, everyone who is neither a natural winner nor regarded as mainstream person is branded as an outsider. This powerful realistic youth novel is a far cry from the illusory image of the ›happy youth‹. (13+)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2005 - 161
Reyes, Yolanda (text)
Coll, Ivar da (illus.)
Una cama para tres
(A bed for three)
Bogotá : Alfaguara, 2003.  p.
Child – Going to bed – Night – Fear – Warmth
Yolanda Reyes relates the common evening squabbles over going to bed in a very humorous way but still takes children's fears and their longing for comfort and security seriously. Very realistically, she describes how the child suddenly needs to finnish some utterly important matters or how it asks its irritated mother hundreds of urgent questions. The adults always know better, they want to decide everything, yet they don't have a convincing answer to why children are now allowed to crawl into their parents' bed when they are afraid. Ivar da Coll's imaginative, cartoon-like pictures perfectly illustrate the cheerful and thoughtful everyday episode of an ordinary family like you and me (5+)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2006 - 163
Lara, Enrique (illus.)
García, Luis (illus.)
Circo de pulgas
Bogotá : Ed. GatoMalo, 2005.  p.
Street dog Outsider – Flea circus
Within the past few years, a number of small publishing houses have sprung up in Latin America, which are seeking their fortune in the fairly difficult children’s book scene. In 2005, the Colombian publisher Gato Malo (Bad Cat) started with a handful of titles such as this textless picture book a genre quite common on that continent. The dynamic, caricature-like illustrations – sketchy black-and-white drawings, which are partly coloured – tell the story of a dog who is driven from his home and has to survive in the streets. With a lot of courage and creativity, he forges a new career as the founder of a successful flea circus. On the outside, this optimistic book is a funny animal story, yet on a deeper level it also addresses the topic of outsiders living at the edge of society. (3+)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2006 - 164
Paz Castillo, María Fernanda (ed./adapt.)
Osorio, María (illus.)
Muertos de susto : leyendas de acá y del más allá
(Paralysed with fear : tales from near and far)
Bogotá : Alfaguara, 2005. 77 p.
(Nidos para la lectura) (Yo leo solo )
Horror story Fear
The series »Nidos para la lectura« (nests for reading) presents a number of carefully designed anthologies of folk tales, poems, and other short literary genres. This volume offers retellings of twelve horror stories of European and Latin American origin. The varied and by no means bloodthirsty selection is perfect for children who are in for a pleasant shudder of fear but not too much. The illustrations are a feast for the eyes. The abstract, dynamic digitally produced graphics, which dramatically amplify the characters’ expressions and gestures, consist of black, grey, white, and red fields of colour. They provide an attractive contrast to the tales from bygone times. (8+)
Colombia (Spanish) - 2007 - 164
Rodríguez, Lucho (text/illus.)
Baena, Valeria (text)
Animales en extinción : Colombia ; Región del Caribe
(Endangered animals : Colombia ; Caribbean region)
Bogotá [et al.] : Ed. B., 2006.  p.
Colombia – Animals
The five titles of this attractive non-fiction series introduce various examples of Colombia’s rich fauna grouped according to geographical regions. Unfortunately, all these animals have one thing in common: They are in great danger of becoming extinct. The book »Caribbean Region«, for example, offers worthwhile details about the »tití« (a monkey with the beautiful Latin name »sanguinus oedipus«) or the Colombian peacock. The factual information is clearly structured (What does the animal look like? How does it live? Why is it endangered? etc.) and followed by a double-page featuring a legend that approaches the respective animal from a different, i.e. a narrative, point of view. Appealing stylised illustrations of the animals round off this enchanting book. (10+)