Masks of Mexico Teacher Resources
Ancona, George. (2002). Viva Mexico! The Folk Arts. Tarrytown, NY: Benchmark Books.
This book gives an overview of ten folk art forms from Mexico: stone, wood, metal, fabric, clay, straw, beads, toys, paper and piñata making. All of the arts are described and accompanied by beautiful photographs by the author.
Ancona, George. (1993). Pablo Remembers: The Fiesta of the Day of the Dead. New York, NY: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books.
From the inside flap: “On October 30, people everywhere in Mexico are busy preparing for the three-day fiesta of El día de los muertos, the Day of the Dead. Bakers are baking the traditional pan de muertos, the bread of the dead. Candy makers are making sugar skulls. Children are cutting out cardboard skeletons. Farmers are harvesting marigolds, the flowers of the dead. Families are building and decorating altars to honor loved ones who have died.” Follow Pablo as he helps his family prepare for the fiesta and celebrates the memory of his beloved grandmother.
Anton, Ferdinand. (2002). The Secret World of the Aztecs. Munich: Prestel Verlag.
From the back cover: “The ancient city and capital of the Aztec empire, Tenochtitlán, was built where Mexico City is today. The Aztec… called themselves “Mexica”. Although their heyday only lasted some two hundred years, they developed into a highly cultured nation with clearly defined legal and education systems. This book describes the Aztecs’ history and lifestyle and takes a closer look at their art and culture. Thanks to numerous fascinating details and pictures, everyday scenes in the life of the Aztecs, their schools, upbringing, markets, and religion are all clearly explained.”
Baquedano, Elizabeth. (1993). Eyewitness Books: Aztec, Inca & Maya. New York, NY: Dorling Kindersley Ltd.
From the back cover: “ Here is an original and exciting guide to the Aztecs, Incas and Mayas—and the people who went before them. Stunning full-color photographs of weapons and tools, sculpture, metalwork, and ceramics offer a unique “eyewitness” view of these rich and complex civilizations.”
Carmichael, Elizabeth & Sayer, Cholë. (1991). The Skeleton At The Feast: The Day Of The Dead In Mexico. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
From the back cover: “All over Mexico, early in November, families gather to welcome the souls of the dead on their annual visit home. The smells of burning copal incense and pungent cempasúchil (marigolds) mingle with the aromas of fresh bread, new clothing, sweets, and candles. One of Mexico’s most important festivals since prehispanic times, the Day of the Dead is an occasion for celebrating and feasting, cleaning and decorating graves, dancing and making music.”
Cohn, Diana. (2002). Dream Carver. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.
From the inside flap: “Inspired by the story of Oaxacan woodcarver Manuel Jiménez, Dream Carver offers a simple message: follow your dreams. Glowing color illustrations bring the characters and setting to life, and an informative afterword provides background on the vibrant Mexican art form.”
Doney, Meryl. (2002). Masks Around the World. London: Franklin Watts Publishers.
Garza, Carmen Lomas. (1990). Family Pictures/Cuadros deFamilia. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
From the back cover: “An inspired celebration of American cultural diversity in English and Spanish. From the exquisite cut-paper images on the text pages, to the brilliant paintings, to the strong family bonds expressed in the text, Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia is a visual feast, and an aural delight”—School Library Journal.
Garza, Carmen Lomas. (1996). In My Family/ En Mi Familia. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
From the back cover: “The artist portrays everyday events as well as special moments of family history in crisply colorful, vibrantly peopled paintings…another sparkling family album that lovingly share the artist’s memories of the Hispanic cultural experience as lived in the Southwest.”—Booklist.
Griffith, James S. (1982). Mexican Masks from the Cordry Collection. Tucson: Arizona State Museum/University of Arizona Press.
This is a catalogue from the first exhibit of the Arizona State Museum’s Cordry Collection of Mexican masks, by noted Southwest folklorist James “Big Jim” Griffith. Although it is out of print, copies are available in the ASM library and Education Department. Good photographs of many of the masks, plus background on collectors Donald and Dorothy Cordry.
Johnson, Tony & Winter, Jeanette. (1997). Day of the Dead. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace & Company.
From the inside flap: “Above a small town in Mexico, the sun rises like a great marigold, and one family begins preparations for an annual celebration, El día de los muertos, the Day of the Dead. Soon, they will go out into the night, join their neighbors, and walk to the graveyard to welcome the spirits of their loved ones home again.”
Larson, Linda J. (1996). Mayans, Aztecs & Incas. Westminster, CA: Teacher Created Press.
From page 3: “Mayans, Aztecs and Incas contains a captivating, whole language, thematic unit based on the pre-Columbian civilizations of Central and South America. Its pages are filled with a wide variety of lesson ideas and reproducible pages designed for use with intermediate, middle, and junior high school students. At its core are three high-quality young adult literature selections: The Corns Grows Rip;, Aztecs: The Fall of the Aztec Capital (DK Discoveries); and Secret of the Andes.”
Lechuga, Ruth D., Sayer, Cholë & Lavender, David. (1995). Mask Arts of Mexico. San Fransico, CA: Chronicle Books.
From page 7: “A Mask is an artificial face: positioned over a real face, it transforms the wearer. In Mexico, beings of all types are represented by means of the mask. These include human beings, both male and female; creatures from the animal kingdom; and supernatural beings that embody religious concepts and exist only in the imagination. Some masks fantastically combine elements from different categories and may even serve as reminders of ancient deities from the pre-Hispanic world.”
Macdonald, Fiona. (1995). How would you survive as an Aztec? London: Franklin Watts Publishers.
From the book cover: “Why did the Aztecs treat war as a ritual? Why were Aztec babies welcomed into the world with poetry and sacrificed to bring rain? How do we know about the Aztecs? Find out in this book how you would survive as an Aztec.”
Mack, John. (1994). Masks and the art of expression. New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
Amazon.com book review: “A mask is a mask, or is it? A visual feast of 150 remarkable objects is an integral feature of this expansive survey delving into the rich and complex traditions that have determined uses and meanings of masks from countless archaic cultures right up to modern-day festivals… Ethnographic scholars elaborate on rituals and mythologies associated with these wondrous masks in this articulate and provocative inquiry.” Alice Joyce
Mauldin, Barbara. (1999). Masks of Mexico: Tigers, Devils and the Dance of Life. Santa Fe, NM: Museum of New Mexico Press.
From the back cover: “Masked festivals, found today throughout southern, central, and northwestern Mexico, express and celebrate the values and events of Mexico’s diverse ethnic cultures. Vestiges of pre-Columbian ritual have long since melded with the religious, social, and political structures of the Spanish New World to yield an evolving tradition that blends pagan and Catholic religious observation with indigenous and cross-cultural concerns.” Many beautiful, color photographs of masks and masked festivals.
Museum of International Folk Art. (2001). Masks of Mexico. San Francisco, CA: Pomegranate Communications, Inc.
A book of colorful postcards. From the introduction: “Over the ages, masks have been used as a form of disguise in almost all cultural areas of the world. They allow the wearer to become someone other than himself, whether it is for defense, for religious purposes, to play a role in a pageant, to mock others or to simply have fun. This tradition is particularly rich in Mexico, where masked festivals have played an important part in the religious, social, and recreational lives of the people since pre-Hispanic times.”
Platt, R. (1999). The Fall of the Aztec Capital. DK Discoveries, Dorling Kindersley.
Summary from “Mayans, Aztecs & Incas” thematic unit (Larson, L.): “This beautifully illustrated book presents information about the history of the Aztec people and their way of life. The first section focuses on the Spanish conquest and the siege of Tenochtitlan. The remainder of the book explains the religion, diet, homes, crafts, education, and rulers of a very structured Aztec society.”
Rhoads, D. (1993). The Corn Grows Ripe. Puffin Books.
Summary from “Mayans, Aztecs & Incas” thematic unit (Larson, L.) “This Newberry Honor Book tells the story of a young Mayan boy growing up in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Twelve-year old Tigre must take over the family responsibilities when his father is injured. For Tigre and his family, life is a blend of ancient Mayan heritage and modern life. Illustrated in the style of ancient Mayan paintings, the story is rich in Mayan language and culture, and details the rituals and customs of daily life in a Mayan village.”
Sayer, Chloë. (1990). Arts and Crafts of Mexico. San Francisco, Chronicle Books.
Excellent overview of Mexican crafts, including masks. Color illustrations and quality text make this a great guidebook to the diverse craft arts of Mexico.
Schwarz, Renée. (2002). Making Masks. Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press Ltd.
From the back cover: “If you could be anyone—or anything—what would you be? A knight? A dragon? An alien? Putting on a mask gives you the freedom to explore every possibility! The thirteen unique masks inside are made from easy-to-find materials, are simple to make and are loads of fun to decorate.”
Smith, A.G. & Hazen, Josie. (1995). Cut and Make Mexican Masks. New York, NY: Dover Publications, Inc.
From the back cover of the book: “Extravagantly decorated and filled with symbolic meaning, ritual and ceremony, masks have played an important role in the folk traditions of Mexico for many centuries. This splendid collection features cut-and-make reproductions of seven colorful Mexican folk masks, each based on an authentic historic example.