Rigoberta Menchú: Books for Children and Teens

Photo of Rigoberta Menchú

Rigoberta Menchú (K'iche') is a Mayan activist and leader from Guatemala who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. These books tell different pieces of her story for readers of all ages; most of the books are written by Menchú.

Photo: Creative Commons License, Rigoberta Menchú en la Apertura del Año Judicial Interamericano 2018

Courageous History Makers: 11 Women from Latin America Who Changed the World

Illustrations of women feature in Courageous History Makers
Illustrated by: Jone Leal
Age Level: 6-9
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

Courageous History Makers: 11 Women from Latin America Who Changed the World highlights 11 women from Latin America who excelled in science, sports, the arts, journalism, politics and more. Some notable women featured include Mexican painter Frida Khalo, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Rigoberta Menchú, Grammy-winning musical icon Celia Cruz, and renowned pilot Hermelinda Urvina. By presenting the true biographical stories of these outstanding women in rhyming verses, young readers will follow their journey to success.

Crossing Borders

Painting of Rigoberta Menchu

The second installment of the life of the Nobel Peace prize-winning activist, Rigoberta Menchú picks up her story where the first volume left off. In 1981, she fled from Guatemala to Mexico City, deeply traumatized by the violence against her family and community. She resolved to dedicate her life to the Indian cause and painstakingly built a solidarity movement with the Indians living as outlaws in Guatemala’s mountains. In 1988 she returned to Guatemala as a representative of the opposition in exile.

I, Rigoberta Menchu an Indian Woman in Guatemala (2nd Edition)

Painting of Rigoberta Menchu

Now a global bestseller, the remarkable life of Rigoberta Menchú, a Guatemalan peasant woman, reflects on the experiences common to many Indian communities in Latin America. Menchú suffered gross injustice and hardship in her early life: her brother, father and mother were murdered by the Guatemalan military. She learned Spanish and turned to catechistic work as an expression of political revolt as well as religious commitment. Menchú vividly conveys the traditional beliefs of her community and her personal response to feminist and socialist ideas.

The Girl from Chimel

Painting of Rigoberta Menchu as a child
Illustrated by: Domi
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

Before the thirty-six-year war in Guatemala, despite the hardships the Maya people had endured since the time of the Conquest, life in their highland villages had a beauty and integrity that were changed forever by the conflict and brutal genocide that were to come. Through stories of her grandparents and parents and of the natural world, and her retellings of the stories that she was told as a young girl, Rigoberta Menchú presents a rich, humorous and engaging picture of that lost world.

The Honey Jar

Painting of Rigoberta Menchu as a child
Illustrated by: Domi
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)
The Honey Jar retells the ancient stories Rigoberta Menchú's grandparents told her when she was a little girl, and we can imagine her listening to them by the fire at night. These Mayan tales include natural phenomena narratives and animal stories. The underworld, the sky, the sun and moon, plants, people, animals, gods, and demigods are all players in these vibrant stories.

The Secret Legacy

Painting of Rigoberta Menchu as a young woman
Illustrated by: Domi
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)
Rigoberta Menchu returns to the world of childhood in this, her third book. The novel’s seven-year-old heroine, Ixkem, is chosen to tend to the prized cornfields once her grandfather has passed away. But Ixkem isn’t sure she can accept this great responsibility. Out in the fields, she discovers a legion of tiny people, no bigger than bananas.