8.25
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17 color illustrations

Juan the Bear and the Water of Life

La Acequia de Juan del Oso
By Enrique R. LamadridJuan Estevan Arellano
Illustrations by Amy Córdova

Details

Overview

La Acequia del Rito y la Sierra in the Mora Valley is the highest and most famous traditional irrigation system in New Mexico. It carries water up and over a mountain ridge and across a sub-continental divide, from the tributaries of the Río Grande to the immense watershed of the Mora, Canadian, Arkansas, and Mississippi Rivers. The names and stories of those who created this acequia to sustain their communities have mostly been lost and replaced by myths and legends. Now, when children ask, some parents attribute the task of moving mountains and changing the course of rivers to Juan del Oso, the stouthearted man whose father was a bear.

From the mountains of northern Spain to the Andes in South America, Spanish-speaking people have told ancient legends of Juan del Oso and his friends. In this children's tale, agriculturalist Juan Estevan Arellano and folklorist Enrique Lamadrid share a unique version of a celebrated story that has been told in northern New Mexico for centuries.

Contributor Bios
Enrique R. Lamadrid is a literary folklorist and cultural historian in the University of New Mexico's Department of Spanish and Portuguese.
Juan Estevan Arellano, a native of Embudo, New Mexico, is a poet, artist, writer, and agronomist. He is an expert in traditional Spanish/Moorish agriculture and the sustaining of traditional crops originally brought to New Mexico from Europe and Central Mexico.
Amy Córdova is an artist, author, educator and two-time ALA Pura Belpré Honors Award winner for children's book illustration. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, within the glorious view of the Jemez Mountains.