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Book Review Napí by Antonio Antonio Ramírez and Domi

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Napí is the story of a young Mazateca girl who lives in a small village near the bank of a river in Mexico. The story is ethereal and dreamlike as is the artwork. Napí likes to dream, she dreams of colors, of feelings, of herons flying through the wind. She talks of her village, of her Naa (mother in Mazateca) making tortillas and of the ancient pachota tree that is the center of her village.

Napí is poor, at least she says so. However, her story is of a girl who feels safe and secure, who loves her village, her huilpilli's in bright colors, and her family. She loves the pachota tree under which her belly button cord is buried, the herons who live and nest in it and the colors of nature and her village. Color is important in this book – each page is dedicated to it and the lovely wash of watercolors in brilliant and vibrant colors enhance and complement Napí's dreams of colors and the river.

Domi illustrated Subcommandante Marcos' The Story of Colors and I love her use of color and the way her paintings have not only a dreamlike quality but also of their indigenous look and feel. This is especially true in this book of an indigenous girl living in her Mazateca village. Domi is Mazateca herself and this book reflects her love of her people and their customs. My favorite illustration is the one where the pachota tree becomes alive at night as the herons fill the branches like blossoms. It's simply beautiful.

Antonio Ramírez is an artist who has worked in many medias, including books and murals. This is his first book. He lives in Mexico with Domi, his wife, and they are both very active working for the rights of Native people in Mexico, especially in connection with the Zapatista movement in Chiapas through the Colectivo Callejero, of which they were founding members.

I hope you will find Napí as beautiful as I did and enjoy it.

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About Gina Ruiz

  • Sean Paul Mahoney

    Thank you, Gina. I’m an uncle constantly in search of good books for kids and your reviews help a lot.