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Children's Fiction General

Viva Zapata

by (author) Emilie Smith & Margarita Kenefic Tejada

illustrated by Stefan Czernecki

Tradewind Books
Initial publish date
Oct 2009
General, Mexico, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2009
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 5
  • Grade: p to k
  • Reading age: 3 to 5


This humorous story is about a fictional incident in the childhood of the Mexican revolutionary hero, Emiliano Zapata. After Emiliano's pony is stolen, he manages to track down the bandits and recover his horse.

About the authors

Emilie Smith was born in Argentina and lives in Vancouver. She wrote this story with her friend, Margarita Kenefic Tejada, who lives in Guatemala. They met many years ago when they both were living in a Mexican village about a day's horseback ride from Emiliano's home. Over the years these two friends have engaged in numerous acts of poetry and compassion.

Emilie Smith's profile page

Margarita Kenefic Tejada is a playwright living in Guatemala.


Margarita Kenefic Tejada's profile page

Stefan Czernecki lives in Vancouver but has traveled all over the world. His work reflects his global outlook, as he draws his artistic inspiration from the folk art of the countries he has visited. Stefan is the illustrator of many titles, including Paper Lanterns, The Singing Snake, The Sleeping Bread, Mr. Belinsky's Bagels and Mama God, Papa God.

Stefan Czernecki's profile page


  • Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"

Editorial Reviews

"Recommend this book for both school libraries and public libraries...The book would be an idea candidate for a display highlighting picture books as art."

Resource Links

"A wonderful children's book about a childhood episode in the life of Mexican revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata…Beautiful, dramatic black and white illustrations wrap the story in a fabulous aura. It is a hard world where a life can be decided on whether or not you can make a rough bandido laugh. Emiliano is more than up to the task."

Midwest Book Review

"With a light touch of foreshadowing and simple black and white illustrations, the authors have created a fun way to introduce young readers to a historical figure who made a difference in the lives of millions."

Canadian Bookseller Magazine

"Illustrator Stefan Czernicki succeeds in illustrating the setting and characters in such a way as to impact Zapata's cause...Audiences will appreciate the full-page drawings and large boldface text opposite each illustration."

Library Media Connection

Librarian Reviews

Emilio Zapata was a Mexican revolutionary who believed in justice and freedom. This is a fictional story about Zapata’s childhood. Young Emilio lives with his family on a modest ranch. He is troubled by the poverty he sees in the town. One day, bandidos steal his family’s horses. Emilio sets out to retrieve his beloved pony. When he discovers the bandits, they challenge him: if he can make them laugh, he can have his horses back. Emilio tries many tricks, to no avail. Finally, he asks the bandits why they are so mean. They answer that they grew up hungry. Emilio declares that when he grows up, he will help make it so that no one goes hungry. The bandidos laugh until their sides split. Emilio leaves with the horses. This simple story written in large type with cartoon-like drawings would be an excellent addition to a unit about “heroes”.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2010-2011.

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