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Maggi, Maria E. 1951-

MAGGI, Maria E. 1951-

PERSONAL: Born February 12, 1951, in Maracay, Venezuela; daughter of Oscar (an entrepreneur) and Josefina Andrea (a homemaker) Maggi; children: Claudia E. Jimenez Maggi. Education: Graduate of Universidad Central de Venezuela, 1978; graduate study at Universidad Central de Barcelona, 1979-82.


ADDRESSES: Home—Calle Los Mangos, entre 5ta y 6ta Transversal, Res. 27, Torre A, Apt. 6, Los Dos Caminos, Caracas 1071, Venezuela. Offıce—Playco Editores C.A., calle El Carmen, Centro Dos Caminos, Of. 4-B, Los Dos Caminos, Caracas 1071, Venezuela. E-mail—[email protected]


CAREER: Publisher, writer, and educational consultant. Monte Avila Editores, Caracas, Venezuela, head publisher of children's books, 1989-96; Playco Editores, Caracas, publisher, 1996—; Fundación Privincal, Proyecto Papagayo (nonprofit), Caracas, consultant, educator, and publisher, 1998—.


AWARDS, HONORS: Fernando Paz Castillo essay prize, 1982; International Board on Books for Young People honor list designation, 2000, for La Gran canoa; best book of the year prize, 2003.


WRITINGS:

La Poesia de Ramón Palomares y la imaginación americana, CELARG, 1982.

(Editor) Nuestros cuentos de Navidad: Antología de cuentos navideños venezolanos, Fondo Editorial Aravenei (Caracas, Venezuela), 1985.

El Libro de los animales de Aquiles Nazoa, Monte Avila Editores (Caracas, Venezuela), 1991.

El Libro de los cochinitos, Playco Editores (Caracas, Venezuela), 1997.

La Gran canoa: Version de una leyenda kariña, illustrated by Gloria Calderon, Playco Editores (Caracas, Venezuela), 1998, translation by Elisa Amado published as The Great Canoe: A Karina Legend, Groundwood Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

El Adivino: Cuento tradicional, Playco Editores (Caracas, Venezuela), 1998.

(With Rosario Anzola and Fanuel Diaz) Valores: Lectura y escritura creative, Fundación Provincial (Caracas, Venezuela), 2002.

(With Silda Cordoliani) Simón Bolívar: Una Historia ilustrada, Libros de el Nacional (Caracas, Venezuela), 2002.

Contributor to periodicals, including Universal, Diario de Caracas, Últimas Noticias, Nacional, Revista Poesia, Revista Nacional de Cultura, Revista Actual, and others.


WORK IN PROGRESS: An anthology of Venezuelan children's literature.


SIDELIGHTS: Venezuelan children's author, publisher, and educator Maria E. Maggi provides North American readers with a window on her country in The Great Canoe: A Karina Legend. In Maggi's story, based on an indigenous myth, Kaputano the Sky Dweller warns the Karina people of Venezuela about the coming of a great storm and a flood that will cover the earth, but few heed his warning. Four couples are left to help Kaputano construct the canoe that will preserve their lives, as well as specimens of plants and the lives of two of each creature then living. When the waters recede, the earth is left barren, and Kaputano sets about fashioning a new world.


In a review of The Great Canoe for Horn Book, Mary M. Burns praised Maggi's retelling as "wonderfully fresh," and noted the research that the author brings to her tale. Praising the combination of Maggi's text with woodcut illustrations by Gloria Calderon, School Library Journal reviewer Kathy Piehl called The Great Canoe "a stunning example of a familiar story in an unfamiliar setting." "Although universally known in its Biblical telling," added a Kirkus reviewer, "this version proves the universality of culture and story."


Maggi told CA: "Since I was a child I have enjoyed literature. My grandmother told amazing stories, with a musical and sonorous language, and character such as princes, kings, dragons, and Venezuelan peasants; meanwhile, books introduced me to Spanish literature and the work of Venezuelan authors. I used to submerge myself in reading so much that I was able to put time on hold and escape the "real world." Writing automatically resulted from my enjoyment of the language. My writing has focused on fiction, informative children's books, and literary essays.

"More than an academic work, my literary essays are my attempt to disseminate relevant information to the literary community and the common reader. My purpose has been to serve as a bridge between the general reader and the author of a specific literary work.


"Every book serves a different purpose. In the case of my research, criticism, or essays, my purpose is to let people know about the initial work and the development of children's literature in Venezuela and to value the contributions of Venezuelan authors. In the case of The Great Canoe, an adaptation of a native Kariña legend, my purpose was to recreate an American version of the tribe's story of Noah's ark or the Universal Flood, and also to enlighten children about Venezuela's rich culture and the region's fauna and flora. In the case of El Adivino ('The Fortuneteller'), I just wanted to tell a very funny story to children that also contains an important lesson."


BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 15, 2001, Gillian Engberg, review of The Great Canoe: A Karina Legend, p. 577.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December, 2001, Janice Del Negro, review of The Great Canoe; May, 2002.

Críticas, summer, 2001.

Horn Book, January-February, 2002, Mary M. Burns, review of The Great Canoe, p. 88.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2001, review of The GreatCanoe, p. 1128.

Resource Links, December, 2001, Linda Ludke, review of The Great Canoe, p. 8.

School Library Journal, October, 2001, Kathy Piehl, review of The Great Canoe, p. 144.*

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