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Toledo, Natalia 1967- (Natalia Toledo Paz)

Personal

Born 1967, in Juchitán, Oaxaca, Mexico; daughter of Francisco Toledo (a painter).

Addresses

Home—Mexico.

Career

Poet and writer. President of Patronato de la Casa de la Cultura de Juchitán.

Awards, Honors

Scholarships in indigenous languages from Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1994-95, 2001-02, and Fondo Estatal para la Cultura y las Artes de Oaxaca, 1995-96; Nezahualcyotl de Literatura, prize in contemporary indigenous literature, 2004, for Guie' Yaasé'.

Writings

(With Rocío Gonzálaz) Paraíso de Fisuras, Casa de la Cultura Oaxaqueña (Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico), 1992.

(As Natalia Toledo Paz) Ca Gunaa Gubidxa Ca Gunaa Guiiba Ìrisaca/Mujeres de sol, mujeres de oro, Instituto Oaxaqueño, 2002.

Guie' Yaasé', 2003.

(With father, Francisco Toledo) La muerte pies ligeros, Instituto Estatal de Educación Pública de Oaxaca (Oaxaxa, México), 2006, bilingual edition published as Light Foot/ Pies Ligeros, Groundwood Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2007.

Author's works have been translated into several Mexican dialects.

Sidelights

Born in Juchitá, Oaxaca, Mexico in 1968, Natalia Toledo became involved with the indigenous language movement in Mexico while she studied at the Casa de la Cultura de Juchitán, her home city's "house of culture." While a student, she learned how to write in the Zapotec language, the tongue of the native culture of southern Oaxaca. Toledo herself grew up surrounded by two languages, speaking Zapotec at home and Spanish at school. Her poetry and stories draw heavily on the unique regional tales she has learned from people in her family and in the rural areas of Oaxaca near where she grew up.

A few of Toledo's books have been translated for an English-language audience and feature both Spanish and English texts. Light Foot/ Pies Ligeros is a picture book Toledo created to frame a series of paintings done by her father, well-known Mexican painter Francisco Toledo. With a bilingual English/Spanish text, the book retells a folk story in which Death challenges the animals to a jump rope contest in an effort to control the world's population. If Death wins, the animals will die; but fortunately Grasshopper is able to challenge Death before that happens. "The text includes little jump-rope rhymes that Death recites to his victims," wrote Tim Wadham in School Library Journal, the critic adding that the tale and the art might be too scary for a young audience. Although Michelle Gowans judged the themes in the book to be very subtle, she wrote in Resource Links that Light Foot/ Pies Ligeros "is a clever little folktale, with well-crafted rhymes peppered throughout the text."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Resource Links, December, 2007, Michelle Gowans, review of Light Foot/ Pies Ligeros, p. 13.

School Library Journal, March, 2008, Tim Wadham, review of Light Foot/ Pies Ligeros, p. 192.

ONLINE

Laventana Casa Web site,http://laventana.casa.cult.cu/ (January 23, 2006), Spanish-language interview with Toledo.

Letralia: Tierra de Letras Web site,http://www.letralia.com/ (November 22, 2004), Spanish-language article about Toledo.

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Toledo, Natalia 1967- (Natalia Toledo Paz)

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