General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 8 May 2021/9 Flower
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‘Ballplayers and Bonesetters’
‘Ballplayers and Bonesetters’
Superbly written and illustrated. The best book for children on the Aztecs?
Read our review
Images from ‘Bonesetters and Ballplayers’ illustrating Aztec and Maya jobs


For ‘glossy’ school books on the Aztecs - and there are plenty - look on our Reviews page (L/H menu) to see which we highly recommend. In the meantime, here’s an idea or two...

‘Aztec Designs’ Colouring Book by Wilson G. Turner, Dover Publications 2009
‘Aztec Designs’ Colouring Book by Wilson G. Turner, Dover Publications 2009 (Click on image to enlarge)

Current hot tip (2009): Ballplayers and Bonesetters by Laurie Coulter - ‘100 Ancient Aztec and Maya jobs you might have adored or abhorred’ (sample pages above).

It’s always worth checking the excellent Dover range of copyright-free b/w graphics books from the USA. Their range can be browsed on their website - follow link below (Ancient Mexico shares their seemingly endless ‘American Indians’ pages: keep scrolling there, it’s worth it!). All Dover books can be ordered direct from the UK distributor, David & Charles Ltd. in Devon - tel. 01626 323200. For schools all prices include p&p. We’ve selected just a couple to highlight from the several available on ancient Mexico.

Ancient Mexican Designs colouring book (Dover)
Ancient Mexican Designs colouring book (Dover)

Ancient Mexican Designs colouring book by Marty Noble (2004) - collection of 30 b/w and 5 colour illustrations mainly from Aztec and Mixtec codices; more complex than the John Green drawings (below) and lacking full descriptive captions, this book still contains some excellent simplified drawings of several classic codex pages, mainly from the Nuttall, Borgia, Borbonicus and Fejérváry-Mayer codices (ISBN 0486 436330, £3.95); one example in the collection - that helps clarify the flint-knife figure from plate 32 of the Codex Borgia (the one with several mini-Tezcatlipocas emerging from it that features in our Aztecs-for-kids microsite) - is shown here...

B/W illustration from Codex Borgia
B/W illustration from Codex Borgia (Click on image to enlarge)

Other Dover books worth looking out for are:-
• An Aztec Herbal: The Classic Codex of 1552
• Ancient Mexican Designs by Gregory Mirow
• Codex Borgia: A Full-Color Restoration of the Ancient Mexican Manuscript by Gisele Díaz and Alan Rodgers
Daily Life of the Aztecs by Jacques Soustelle
• Design Motifs of Ancient Mexico by Jorge Enciso
• Designs from Pre-Columbian Mexico by Jorge Enciso
• Mexican Indian Folk Designs: 200 Motifs from Textiles by Irmgard Weitlaner-Johnson
• Myths of Pre-Columbian America by Donald A. Mackenzie
• Six Ancient Mexican Postcards by Zelia Nuttall
• The Codex Nuttall by Zelia Nuttall

John Green’s excellent ‘Life in Ancient Mexico’ colouring book
John Green’s excellent ‘Life in Ancient Mexico’ colouring book

Life in Ancient Mexico by John Green (1999): this is a particularly excellent colouring book containing over 40 very detailed drawings (inc. 4 double-page spreads) - from scenes of human sacrifice and warriors in battle to very realistic vignettes of artisans at work, women weaving, spinning and preparing food, an Aztec wedding, astronomers at work, and much more - all accompanied by carefully researched descriptive captions (ISBN 0486 267059, just £3.50) - highly recommended.

Penny Bateman’s classic Aztecs Activity Book
Penny Bateman’s classic Aztecs Activity Book (Click on image to enlarge)

Remember the British Museum has reprinted (2003) its excellent (1994) A4-sized Aztecs Activity Book by Penny Bateman (ex-Museum of Mankind Education Officer), very child-friendly, generously illustrated (British Museum Company, ISBN 0-7141-2721-3, still widely available to buy online.

The British Museum’s Pocket Dictionary of Aztec & Maya Gods
The British Museum’s Pocket Dictionary of Aztec & Maya Gods (Click on image to enlarge)

The British Museum have come up trumps again in 2006 with the eminently useful Pocket Dictionary of Aztec (& Maya) Gods and Goddesses by Clara Bezanilla - a nice, pocket-sized but authoritative and elegantly illustrated guide to the key deities. Price £6.99.

Dover Publications
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