Guaitipán La Líder Guerrera, by Adriana Ramírez
As a Colombian, recovering the stories that are part of my tradition is an honor. I would have liked to have learned about Guaitipán when I went to school, but the story of this woman, an indigenous leader, was not part of the school textbooks.
Guaitipán was a warrior leader who, together with her indigenous brothers, led for years one of the most powerful resistances against the Spanish conquest. Her story was made invisible by the Spaniards because to remember her was to give the indigenous people a reason to feel proud, a reason to have hope and a reason to continue fighting. But, thanks to the oral tradition of the native peoples, the history of Guaitipán is still alive today. With 372 word families and 113 cognates, Guaitipán is an inspiring story of a revolutionary woman who fought alongside her people for their territories and to preserve their way of life.
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Two days later I’m still thinking about this book. I want to go down a rabbit hole learning more and more about Guaitipán. It is not just compelling. It’s so completely absorbing I felt like it was happening now.
Guaitipán, like María Cano (Ramírez) and Juana (Margarita Peréz García, the other books in the Las Revolucionarias series, it is told from the perspective of a woman who was not included in the re-telling of history from the perspective of the conquerers and the men. It's told from the perspective of the oppressed.
It is always hard for me to say which of Adriana’s books is my favorite. I’m never sure. But today I’m sure. This is the best book of hers that I have read. You need to read this book if it’s in your classroom library to recommend it. But I would advise reading it and then considering teaching it as a class novel. There are thought provoking questions at the end for discussion that allow students to reflect on why history is written by the winners and if it should be and what is missing in historical narratives by erasing women’s stories.
This is not your standard CI novel.
I would say for independent reading, level 4. As a class novel, level 3. And all Spanish teachers should read it and anyone who wants to improve their own Spanish.