Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del arcoíris
By Linda Elovitz Marshall
Illustrated by Elisa Chavarri
Ixchel wants to follow in the long tradition of weaving on backstrap looms, just as her mother, grandmother, and most Mayan women have done for more than two thousand years. But Ixchel’s mother is too busy preparing her weavings for the market. If the weavings sell at a good price, they will have money to pay for Ixchel’s school and books. And besides, there is not enough extra thread for Ixchel to practice with.
Disappointed, Ixchel first tries weaving with blades of grass, and then with bits of wool, but no one would want to buy the results. As she walks around her village, Ixchel finds it littered with colorful plastic bags. There is nowhere to put all the bags, so they just keep accumulating.
Suddenly, Ixchel has an idea! She collects and washes the plastic bags. Then she cuts each bag into thin strips. Sitting at her loom, Ixchel weaves the plastic strips into a colorful fabric that looks like a beautiful rainbow—just like the weavings of Mayan women before her.
Click here to download free printable coloring pages and paper dolls created by illustrator Elisa Chavarri!
Families read Rainbow Weaver at a Washington D.C. elementary school during Teach Central America week to honor Latinx heritage month as part of an initiative created by Teaching for Change. Families and students read the book in English and Spanish, shared examples of recycling materials, and made their own woven artwork.
About the Creators
Linda Elovitz Marshall grew up near Boston, graduated from Barnard College, and raised four children and a flock of sheep on a farm in the Hudson Valley of New York. She is the author of several books for young readers and was inspired to write this story by dear friends and founders of Mayan Hands, an organization of weavers in Guatemala. Marshall lives with her family in Selkirk, New York.
ELISA CHAVARRI is the illustrator of the popular Lee & Low title Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del arcoiris. Chavarri is a full-time illustrator who graduated with honors from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she majored in Classical Animation and minored in Comics. She was born in Peru and raised mostly in northern Michigan, where she still lives with her husband and their two children. You can find her online at elisachavarri.com.
Photo: Matthew Konicek