2016 in [Book] Review Books DiverseKidLit Picture Books Reading Ruminations Reading Themes

[Saturday Reads | DiverseKidLit] A Mexican Legend in Duncan Tonatiuh’s The Princess and the Warrior

Myra here.

Happy New Year!

Our theme for January is Human Rights. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.


We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, January 21st and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Theme

Our theme for the current month is Human Rights. Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now for our upcoming themes …

  • January 21st linkup: Human Rights. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is celebrated in the US in January, think about your favorite books to share with children about the importance and the history of human rights and/or civil rights.
  • February 4th and 18th linkups: Love. Let’s spread our love of diverse books by sharing diverse books about love, families, and relationships.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

Our most-clicked post from last time was 5 Positive Picture Books for Ramadan by Katie at The Logonauts. This post shares five different books about the holiday of Ramadan, some that take place in Middle Eastern countries and others in America. All highly recommended!


We have just launched our new reading theme this January-February 2017. We are doing a throwback of books published in 2016 – crafty, I know. It’s an ingenious way for us to catch up on books we failed to read or feature from the past year.


The Princess And The Warrior: A Tale Of Two Volcanoes

Written and Illustrated by: Duncan Tonatiuh
Published by: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2016
ISBN: 1419721305 (ISBN13: 9781419721304). Borrowed a copy from the Jurong West Public Library. Book Photos taken by me. 

I am an unabashed fan of Duncan Tonatiuh’s picturebooks. I especially love his Dear Primo, Separate is Never Equal, and Funny Bones which I reviewed here. And so I immediately borrowed this title as soon as I saw it available in our library.


Given the preponderance of contemporary realistic stories that are out there, it is rare that ancient legends and folktales are rendered with such a modern and relatable vibe to it. At its very core, The Princess and the Warrior is a love story, similar to most legends:


I like how familiar tropes such as this reminds us of a simpler time where white is white and black is black. The princesses are beautiful and the warriors are fierce fighters. Notwithstanding the difficult names and terms here such as macuahuitl, xochitl to cite a few, I felt that it added an element of authenticity in the narrative that needed to be included. There is also a dab of the Romeo and Juliet here with mixed messages and miscommunication leading to tragic consequences:


I am glad that folktales and legends seem to be making a comeback – and are now being packaged in an accessible narrative that hopefully most children would pick up and read. Definitely a title you should add in your classroom library.

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

3 comments on “[Saturday Reads | DiverseKidLit] A Mexican Legend in Duncan Tonatiuh’s The Princess and the Warrior

  1. Yes, fabulous illustrations! Good theme, Myra – 2016 seems to have run away a bit with me too…


  2. Great review! I like the looks of this book – it sounds like a really good story.


  3. Yes! I love this book so much. We had an interesting chat when Duncan visited our school about whether diverse authors/illustrators are overlooked for the major book awards because they so often win the “ethnic” or regional awards. I would really love to see this one get a Caldecott!


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