Do you ever wonder where the great winds and the sound of the rain came from? Or how strange birds like Guinean Fowls made their way from Africa to Puerto Rico? One need only quiet their mind and delve deep into Nicholas Mohr and Antonio Martorell’s book, The Song of el Coqui, to discover these Puerto Rican legends.
This book of legends contains three stories. The first is about the god Huracán who lived in a sad silence until the noise of the Coquí broke the silence and brought music and joy to his life. The second follows La Guinea, a small bird who, after hiding in a basket aboard a ship, finds herself a long way from Africa and on the shores of Puerto Rico only to be harshly treated until her beauty is recognized by Don Elías. Finally, the story of La Mula, a strong and hardworking mule who is harshly treated by her masters until she is sold, befriends Don Eduardo, and helps him escape his own slavery and return to his people, the Cimmarones.
These three stories help to tell something distinct of the Puerto Rican people. Their ancestry is expressed in the beautiful words of the authors and illustrated in grand color, typical of Puerto Rican art. This story would be wonderful to incorporate into a world culture unit, and to encourage students to write a story explaining things in their own culture. Finally, the authors preserved many Puerto Rican words that students may find interesting.