Welcome to Freedom Reads: Anti-Bias Book Talk from Teaching for Change. In this video series, we introduce children’s books using an anti-bias, anti-racist lens as a strategy to talk about issues around race and the world with children. (View other episodes on the series home page and our YouTube playlist.)
The book featured in the video below is Rainbow Weaver / Tejedora de Arcoirís, written by Linda Elovitz Marshall and illustrated by Elisa Chavarri. This is a special episode of Freedom Reads to support Teach Central America Week, Teaching for Change’s campaign to encourage educators to teach about Central America during Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month and all year long.
Published in 2016, Rainbow Weaver tells the story of Ixchel (pronounced “ee-SHELL”), a Guatemalan child who wants to follow in the long tradition of weaving on backstrap looms, just as her mother, grandmother, and most Mayan women have done for more than two thousand years. But Ixchel’s mother is too busy preparing her weavings for the market. If the weavings sell at a good price, they will have money to pay for Ixchel’s school and books. Disappointed, Ixchel attempts to weave with materials she finds around her, until she gets the brilliant idea to use the colorful plastic bags littered around her village. Ixchel weaves the plastic strips into a colorful fabric that looks like a beautiful rainbow — just like the weavings of Mayan women before her.
Four Key Takeaways From Rainbow Weaver / Tejedora de Arcoiris
- Highlights cultural traditions and resistance
- Portrayals of indigenous people
- Youth activism and creativity
- Environmental activism and human impact on the environment
Note that this is a bilingual English-Spanish book, with words from indigenous Mayan languages included. Rainbow Weaver is a delightful book that is recommended for elementary school children.