Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Through the stories of seventeen of Mexico’s dearest icons, Morris Rosenblum introduces the young reader to the nation’s highest and lowest moments from the time of the Toltec civilization in the mid-tenth century. The sketches in Heroes of Mexico are ordered chronologically, beginning with the mythic biography of Quetzalcoatl and proceeding through the turmoil of Mexico’s seemingly constant wars for independence and revolution to the more placid mid-twentieth century. The final three chapters, sketches of artists José Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera and of composer Carlos Chavez, return to the themes of traditional Mexican culture raised at the outset. Preceding the biographical accounts are two chapters introducing the concept of “hero” and briefly outlining the course of Mexico’s history.

The sketches, which range in length from three to twelve pages, are illustrated with drawings or photographs of the subjects, along with illustrations of the houses or churches with which they are associated. The stories are straight narratives, usually beginning with the scene—a town or historical circumstance—where the subject was born or became prominent. Each account describes the subject’s family and background and enough of his or her philosophy to make sense of the motivations that led to the status of hero. Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, for example, is presented as a compassionate village priest who ran afoul of the Spanish...

(The entire section is 495 words.)