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Article suitable for Top Juniors and above

Child-friendly sources on the Conquest

ORIGINAL QUESTION received from - and thanks to - Tom Potter: Are there any child friendly sources that compare the Aztec view of the Conquistadors with the Spanish view? (Answered by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

Scene from a re-enactment of the Spanish Conquest, Walsingham School/Mexicolore, South London, 1982
Scene from a re-enactment of the Spanish Conquest, Walsingham School/Mexicolore, South London, 1982 (Click on image to enlarge)

Yes! Though precious few...
Here are two books for children that we very much recommend, published in the USA and Canada respectively.

‘The Sad Night’
‘The Sad Night’ (Click on image to enlarge)

The first is ‘The Sad Night’ by Sally Schofer Mathews. Superbly and lavishly illustrated by hand, written for younger readers, it tells the famous story of La Noche Triste, when in June 1520, the Spanish, loaded down with plundered Aztec gold, escaped at night from Tenochtitlan, by the skin of their teeth. A faithful retelling of a famous historical event, wonderfully embellished with colourful, codex-style illustrations.

‘Broken Shields’
‘Broken Shields’ (Click on image to enlarge)

The second is ‘Broken Shields’ by Claudia Burr, Krystyna M. Libura and Maria Cristina Urrutia. In the same vein as the classic work ‘Broken Spears’ by the distinguished Mexican writer Miguel León-Portilla, ‘Broken Shields’ tells the story of the destruction of the Aztec civilization by the Spanish - from the perspective of the Aztecs. The authors draw on eyewitness Aztec accounts recorded by a Spanish priest and the book is poignantly illustrated with paintings made by Spanish-educated Aztecs following the conquest.

If teachers would like to recommend other resources along these lines, please contact Mexicolore...

‘The Sad Night’ in our ‘Ideas for STORIES’ section

Order ‘Broken Shields’ from Groundwood Books, Canada

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