The Corn Grows Ripe by Dorothy Rhoads (Viking)
In 1957, when Old Yeller won the Newbery Medal, this small book was awarded an honor title. I had bought a copy of some used book sale and had it on my shelf, unread, for years. When I traveled to Mexico to help with the opening of a small, newly built library in a Mayan village, I grabbed this book of the shelf thinking I would leave it behind once I read it.
I was amazed to discovered that this lovely story takes place in a Mayan village in Mexico. It taught me so much of the history and way of life, the beliefs and customs of the people I was about to meet.
When his father is badly injured in an accident, a young Mayan boy called Tigre wonders who will plant and harvest the corn that they need to survive–and to please the Mayan gods. Twelve-year-old Tigre has never done a man’s work before. Now he will have to take his father’s place.
The story’s setting and premise are rare. If you like to read books to children aloud, this is a perfect choice. I did leave the book behind in the Mayan library, even though the story is in English, but I ordered myself a new copy (at www.bookdepository.com) because I wanted to own this little gem. Happy reading!