Mola: Cuna Life Stories and Art (Hardcover)

Cuna Life Stories and Art

By Maricel E. Presilla

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 9780805038019, 32pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 1996



My little girls,
You will grow up and marry
a grown boy.
You will grow up....
I will look for molas,
Molas for the little girls.
--Cuna Lullaby

The remarkable Cuna Indians live on the San Blas Islands off the northern coast of Panama. Cuna women hold much of the power enjoyed by men in other societies. They select their husbands, pass property on to their children, and make a unique form of art called molas that depict every detail of their lives.

The spectacular fabric designs in vibrant tropical colors that appear on the front and back panels of molas give us a window into Cuna life. We may see a day in school, mythical birds, the story of Noah, jungle animals, or a girl's coming-of-age.

Author Maricel Presilla learned how to read molas when she stayed with the Cuna. Mola is her tribute to the women she came to know and the amazing art they create.

An American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists"
One of Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year

About the Author

Maricel E. Presilla journeyed to the San Blas Islands as part of her ongoing study of the foods and cultures of Latin America. After receiving her doctorate in medieval Spanish history, she wrote two books for young readers: "Feliz Nochebuena," "Feliz Navidad: Christmas Feasts of the Hispanic Caribbean," and with Gloria Soto, "Life Around the Lake." A native of Cuba, she lives with her husband in Weehawken, New Jersey.

Praise For Mola: Cuna Life Stories and Art

"Presilla, who visited with and interviewed people of the San Blas Islands off the northern coast of Panama, offers an intriguing picture of the lives of the Cuna Indians through their unique folk art....An unusual and effective look at a culture probably unfamiliar to American children."--Booklist