One of the biggest goals when working towards literacy, and one we try to foster with our literacy programs, is to enable comprehension and critical thinking skills necessary to become empowered members of society.
Guatemalan writer Julio Serrano Echeverría also believes in the power of stories. He translates ancient Maya oral stories he collects from elders throughout Guatemala. He claims to be the author, but not the writer” because no one is the owner of oral stories.
Julio caught our attention through his stories. When choosing books for our libraries, we often search for works that our young readers will be able to identify with. His collection of Maya folktales are stories that children from our beneficiary schools enjoy because they can relate to them. Many of the stories take place in indigenous communities like their own and are similar to the stories their grandparents have told them.Julio’s books are very popular in our lending libraries.
Pueblo a Pueblo and Julio teamed up to show the students at the Nueva Providencia Primary beneficiary school, in San Lucas Toliman, how they also have the power to be storytellers and to teach them how to translate their unique experiences into creative narratives.
“It’s important to empower kids, to show them they can be in control of their own stories and their own lives, to use their creativity to understand the world around them and to create their dreams for the future,” explained Juan. This is especially important for kids in underserved populations, “which the world has told do not have a significant role in the larger social narrative,” he added.