Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Moonlit Vine- Claro de luna


By Elizabeth Santiago

Illustrations by Mckenzie Mayle 

Publisher: Lee & Low Books 

Hardcover: 368 pages

ISBN-10: 1643795805

ISBN-13: 978-1643795805



Fourteen-year-old Taína just learned that she is a descendant of a long line of strong Taíno women, but will knowing this help her bring peace and justice to her family and community?


Despite her name, Taína Perez doesn't know anything about her Taíno heritage, nor has she ever tried to learn. After all, how would ancient Puerto Rican history help with everything going on? There's constant trouble at school and in her neighborhood, her older brother was kicked out of the house, and with her mom at work, she's left alone to care for her little brother and aging grandmother. It's a lot for a fourteen-year-old to manage.


But life takes a wild turn when her abuela tells her she is a direct descendant of Anacaona, the beloved Taíno leader, warrior, and poet, who was murdered by the Spanish in 1503. Abuela also gives her an amulet and a zemi and says that it's time for her to step into her power like the women who came before her. But is that even possible? People like her hardly make it out of their circumstances, and the problems in her home and community are way bigger than Taína can manage. Or are they?


A modern tale with interstitial historical chapters, The Moonlit Vine brings readers a powerful story of the collective struggle, hope, and liberation of Puerto Rican and Taíno peoples.



Taína, una joven de catorce años, acaba de enterarse que es descendiente de una larga línea de fuertes mujeres taínas. ¿Pero, le ayudará esto a traer paz y justicia a su familia y comunidad?


A pesar de su nombre, Taína Pérez no sabe nada de su herencia taína, ni ha intentado nunca aprender. Al fin y al cabo, ¿cómo podría ayudar la historia antigua de Puerto Rico con todo lo que está pasando? Hay constantes problemas en la escuela y en su barrio, han echado a su hermano mayor de casa y, como su madre está trabajando, le toca a ella sola cuidar de su hermano pequeño y de su abuela anciana. Es mucho para una niña de catorce años.


Pero la vida da un giro radical cuando su abuela le dice que es descendiente directa de Anacaona, la bienamada líder taína, guerrera y poeta, que fue asesinada por los españoles en 1503. La abuela también le regala un amuleto y un cemí y le dice que ha llegado el momento de asumir su poder como las mujeres que la precedieron. ¿Pero es eso posible? La gente como ella apenas consigue salir de sus circunstancias, y los problemas de su hogar y de su comunidad son mucho más grandes de lo que Taína puede manejar. ¿O lo son?


Un relato moderno intercalado con capítulos históricos, Claro de luna ofrece a los lectores una poderosa historia de lucha, esperanza y liberación colectiva del pueblo puertorriqueño y taíno.


Elizabeth Santiago grew up in Boston, MA with parents who migrated from San Sebastián, Puerto Rico in the 1960s. The youngest of nine, Elizabeth was entranced by the stories her mother, father, aunts and uncles, and community elders told her. Later, she sought to capture and honor those narratives and share them with the world. She earned a BFA in creative writing from Emerson College, a master's in education from Harvard University, and a PhD in education studies from Lesley University. She still lives in Boston with her husband Kevin and son Ezekiel, but travels to Puerto Rico as often as she can to feel even closer to her ancestors, culture, and heritage. Find her @liznarratives


McKenzie Mayle is a New York City based artist and illustrator with roots in Appalachia Ohio. She delights in creating relatable and eccentric characters, predominantly inspired by Tim Burton, Shel Silverstein, Jann Brett, and Roald Dahl imagery. Van Gogh and Monet influenced the scenery she would create for her characters. When not drawing or out and about people-watching for character inspiration, she can be found cuddled with her cats, Pretzel and Tarmac. Find her at

1 comment:

Thelma T. Reyna said...

Thanks, Rene, for this succinct overview of Elizabeth's book. I always enjoy seeing what you're working on. Very nice to have you here on La Bloga. Sending you my regards!