Groundwood Books Ltd

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A Boy Is Not a Bird

“When countries are fighting,” my mother says, “there can be a lot of confusion. You can’t predict from one day to the next what will happen. Imagine a flock of birds sitting together quietly on a haystack, enjoying the fine weather. A dog runs up to them and begins to bark, and with a big squawk and a tangle of wings they all disperse, up, up in the sky, in different directions. The war is the barking dog. But the birds will eventually come together again, and everything will resume as before.”

My father nods. “Yes, exactly. And war is when you get a chance to be a hero. Because every day that you get through it, you’ve done something heroic.”

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Sunny Days Inside

The cave twins were not allowed inside the store to help the cave mother gather food. They had to huddle in the corner of the parking lot far away from other kin groups and watch over the cave baby sleeping in the stroller. While they waited — a very long time — they discussed what cave kids must have kicked around instead of a soccer ball.

“Probably a woolly mammoth skull,” Alek said.

“That wouldn’t roll very far,” Ivan said.

But Alek was on the right track. When they looked up “what are soccer balls made of,” they learned that the inside of a soccer ball was actually called a bladder. 

“We need a bladder,” Ivan said, and they both looked over at the grocery store. 

They ended up kicking a stone around. 

“This probably is Stone Age soccer,” Alek said. “Hunter-gatherers only used stone tools, right?” Both boys pictured the tools they’d seen online. Paleolithic spears and axes.

All at once they came to the same realization, which often happens with twins.

“What are we doing kicking this stone around? We should be hunting!”

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Aquí era el paraíso / Here Was Paradise

Aquí era el paraíso / Here Was Paradise

Selección de poemas de Humberto Ak’abal / Selected Poems of Humberto Ak’abal
by Humberto Ak'abal
illustrated by Amelia Lau Carling
edited by Patricia Aldana
translated by Hugh Hazelton
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