El lugar de las almas sonrientes

(The place of smiling souls) Book not yet available in English


Through the story of Vaina, we will discover how gender equality enhances the traditions of a nation.


This book takes the exotic tradition of flying men as a point of departure, which is found in the lore of Central and South American peoples and has been inscribed as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2009. Thus, it focuses on the discrimination suffered by Vaina, the protagonist, who is not allowed to take part in that ritual because she is a girl. In fact, females were even barred from approaching the central pole from whose ropes the flying dancers hung. However, Vaina will prove to her grandfather and other town elders that she is more than capable of performing as well as men do. Her courage will please the smiling forefathers, who realize that traditions can be enriched and adapted to new realities, as they contribute to building a fairer world. The ceremony, which involves throwing oneself into the void and dancing about while holding on to a thin rope, symbolizes women’s desire to fly free, unencumbered by the gender discrimination that may clip their wings. The volume is beautifully illustrated using a hue that evokes tropical birds. The girl’s name, Vaina, chosen by her grandfather because the child’s smell reminded him of the aroma of vanilla seeds, conjures up sensual pleasures.

Edited by: Research Centre Anilij (Spain)

Author(s): Ugarte Chelén, Paulina

Illustrator(s): Recio Hernández, Tania Dinorah

Series: Gusano de luz

Publisher: Porrúa

City: México

Year: 2013

Pages: 48

ISBN: 9786070914201

Age Range: 6 - 10

Language: ES

Original Language: ES

Keywords: Empowerment, Equality, Respect

Also available in:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Keywords (OR)

  • Age Ranges

  • Languages