Mayan Mother & Child

Maya 72dpi© Durga Yael Bernhard

Here is another illustration from A Ride on Mother’s Back.  This is the first stop in the reader’s journey around the world – and through a single day – watching how babies are carried through everyday life.  This tiny infant has been born into a farming family in Guatemala.  She is jiggled and nursed in a woven cloth tied around her mother’s warm body.  By wearing her baby, the mother’s hands are free to work, and the baby is snug and secure.

As with most of the cultures I studied for this book, some of what I discovered was amazing – such as the beautiful colored textiles that are woven all over Guatemala, each region with its own signature pattern – and some of what I found was disturbing – such as the fact that many families have nothing to eat but tortillas.  This family is fictional, but if newborn Rosha were real, she would grow up crawling on a packed dirt floor in a hut without glass windows, and smoke-blackened walls.  Yet her family, if allowed their dignity and human rights, would be intimately connected to the earth from which they wrestled their meager sustenance, and their children would grow up closely held and lovingly nurtured not only by their parents and siblings, but by the whole society that surrounds them.

My job as the illustrator was to bring alive one moment, one window on this child’s life.  I used earthy colors to evoke the mood of the hut, contrasted with the lush green Central American landscape outside.  What a beautiful place!  By the time I finished this illustration, I felt a real desire to visit Guatemala.  I hope my readers did too!

You can order a signed copy of A Ride on Mother’s Back through my webstore here.  You can also order a greeting card of the image by filling in the image name here, or a poster here.

A good week to all!

A Ride On Mother's Back cover

D Yael Bernhard
Author / Illustrator of
LOVE ISNew! – a unique crossover book for all ages
THE LIFE OF AN OLIVENew!! Explore the life of a 2000-year-old olive tree
JUST LIKE ME, CLIMBING A TREE: Exploring Trees Around the World
NEVER SAY A MEAN WORD AGAIN – A Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review;
winner of the Sydney Taylor Award and National Jewish Book Council Award
THE DREIDEL THAT WOULDN’T SPIN – A Toyshop Tale of Hanukkah
WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING – A Children’s Book Council Notable Book
A RIDE ON MOTHER’S BACK – An American Bookseller Assoc. Pick of the List
– and more!
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