Literary critic about Edna Iturralde
EDNA ITURRALDE: A STAR SHINING BRIGHT WITH HER OWN LIGHT IN THE SKY OF ECUADORIAN CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Without a doubt, Edna Iturralde De Howitt is not only one of the pioneers but also one of the greatest figures in Ecuadorian children’s and youth literature. Let’s explore some of the reasons upon which we base our assertion.
Edna Iturralde’s work constitutes an indisputable multithematic narrative universe, giving her production a rarely seen variety.
By beginning to publish her literary work around the 1980s, she becomes one of the pioneers of Ecuadorian children’s literature.
There are at least five major thematic axes in her narrative: History – within which her highest contribution is ethnohistory – social issues, ecosystem defense, children’s imagination, and epic fantasy.
Historical events are the cornerstones of a significant part of her production, encompassing ethnohistory, legends and myths, liberation struggles, and biographical accounts.
Edna Iturralde inaugurates the ethnohistorical narrative in Ecuador. Reading, researching, traveling, living with members of different cultures, she reconstructs ancient ways of life, adding her imagination and exceptional narrative resources to turn these facts into fun, mysterious adventures that, as she herself expresses, would otherwise reach her readers only through the coldness of school texts or the aridity of archaeological treatises.
In a second historical vein she explores, the dominance of short stories and legends prevails, but myths also make appearances. The author builds bridges between different places that are literary siblings: starting with Ecuador, she continues with Latin America and extends to the world.
The theme of liberation struggles, in which she ventures with great success, is undoubtedly a fascinating way to joyfully immerse children and young people in the enjoyment of our history and to refresh previous accounts on the subject.
In biographical stories, Edna Iturralde presents her characters in the light of new perspectives; she delves not only into their epic, military, liberating, intellectual, literary, religious, or scientific qualities but also into their deepest human values, allowing us to discover wonderful beings hidden within the stereotype’s shell.
Edna is a woman who deeply loves her country, but also a writer of profound sensitivity who feels the pains afflicting society and the world. Therefore, she cannot remain indifferent to a social issue that demands the artist’s intervention to reflect on realities that shame humanity.
Edna is an author who allows the reader, not only foreigners but even Ecuadorians, to know and re-know (discover) our country from all angles: the incredible Coast of the montubios, mangroves, and whale songs; the heritage-rich Sierra with chagras, saraguros, and cañaris; the mythical Oriente of Yasuní and uncontacted ethnic groups; and, of course, the fascinating insular region of the Galápagos, which captivated Darwin and Melville, are the subjects of her stories and novels.
Edna is a human being aware that we share the Earth with all living beings since – as she herself says – the extinction of one affects us all equally in the great pyramid of life. Hence, her works in which the ecosystem is the protagonist of the narration.
Great writers have always aligned themselves with the poorest and most needy; they have been the voice of those without a voice and defenders of causes that, though minority, have remained just and essential. Iturralde’s literature proves this.
Edna’s literature starts on the equator line and projects into the heart of the stars. Complementing her passion for history and other relevant thematic axes, she delves into children’s imagination, identifying the interests of her young readers. When she believes she has fully understood them, after testing them by reading her creations and gaining their approval, she writes texts that exude tenderness, subtle and elegant humor, and, above all, a boundless imagination.
Iturralde’s children’s literature is written with admirable simplicity, engaging style, and captivating language rich in colloquial expressions and Ecuadorianisms that give a special flavor to the narrative. Noteworthy is the prevalence of narration over description, appreciated by young readers, the repeated use of zoom or bringing the reader’s eyes to close-ups, a large dose of magical-mythic connotations undoubtedly stemming from the narrator’s extensive knowledge of the age-old traditions of our indigenous cultures. Well-woven plots, suspenseful elements, and well-resolved endings are also essential. We cannot overlook the fine, elegant, subtle humor that takes on original forms; a high component of tenderness, a boundless imagination, a strong dose of optimism, a tremendous commitment to hope, and a loving endeavor to preserve the ecosystem we inhabit.
As if all the narrative universes covered by her prolific work were not enough, Edna also delves into the complex and demanding world of epic fantasy, presenting one of the most extraordinary sagas of this genre in a collection of twelve fascinating works. She constructs an alternate world featuring unique dragons and populated by dwarfs, elves, ogres, trolls, unicorns, Atlanteans, fairies, giants, wizards, witches, and, of course, us, humans. Essential material for any respectable children’s and youth library.
All that has been stated above makes Edna Iturralde the main reference in a literature that, as of now, is in very good health, to the extent that it has begun to make our country known in different parts of the world. The national and international awards received by Edna, and the fact that her works are currently read and acclaimed by children and young people in Spain, the United States, and Latin America, demonstrate that we are dealing with an exceptional author.
2015 “La Hora”
Edna Iturralde has completed the first Epic of Literary Fantasy written in Ecuador, Drakko Planet. The twelve heroes and heroines in this epic are mutant dragons with human values. They live through extraordinary adventures told by the skillful writing of this distinguished and versatile writer.
Edna Iturralde is the most fertile writer of our literature that is dedicated to children and young adults. She has written more than 50 books and won many international prizes. She does rigorous research that she then transforms into a literary work. How well done!
In one of the recent books of the 58 that Edna has published, The Birds Have No Frontiers, she has, based on careful research, collected and selected forty myths and legends from Latin American. This is a beautiful book for children. It reminds us of the old Neruda and his General Song who from poetry already taught us many years ago to love our America. Upon doing this, Edna evokes the deep love that our people have: the memory, a collective remembrance that should be rescued in daily life, in the classroom, in the parks, in the movie houses in public spaces and in private landscapes or in earth sealed with cement. Edna is a magician in the innovation and aptness like an arrow with the names that she gives to her creations. The magazine La Cometa accompanied for generations thousands of children and adults who gathered to read it every weekend. With or without wind this kite flew with the first rays of the sun every Saturday, and for the rest of the week, because it was used in classroom as a lucid, didactic resource. That generation that grew up with such a beautiful children’s magazine is now taking decisions about our lives. Edna is moreover a indefatigable researcher, the owner of a creativity that makes her feel as comfortable in the terror of the humoristic, La casa que el bosque se tragó (Norma), as in legends of love, Y surguió en las alas de las mariposas (SM) or fantastic epic literature, the only one of its kind written in Ecuador: Drakko Planet. And even in literary-political works, such as her detective novel for young readers in homage to the women who have disappeared in the city of Juárez in Mexico, Las muchachas de la lluvia (Santillana) that create antibodies against sexual and psychological violence against women.
Edna Iturralde, 50 years of magic and history. It seems as if God told her to create music with words!
So ample is the literary legacy of Edna Iturralde, this persevering woman that sufficient pages are lacking to write about her. The book Las muchachas de la lluvia concerns the murders of women that have frequently in Juarez, Mexico. This detective novel, marked by Iturralde’s magnificent creativity and excellent narrative style, successfully captures the attention of her young public.
Edna Iturralde’s imagination conceived the idea of telling, in her sylte that combines fantasy with realism, a story derived from the frequent murders of women in the city of Juarez. Although it is not the first time that this writer has dealt with social problems, but this is her first detective novel, and it is full of suspense, action and drama for young readers.
In her collection of stories The Birds Have No Frontiers: Myths and Legends of Latin America, which received the Skipping Stones Prize, Edna Iturralde re-tells in her own words a myth and a legend from each of the twenty Latin-American countries. While leaving their essence intact, the narrative rediscovers and refreshes these stories. With this collection, Edna Iturralde demonstrates that literature also has no frontiers.
Although The Birds Have No Frontiers: Myths and Legends of Latin America is a book for children and young adults, it will also capture the interest of most adults. Although easy to read, its narrative style teaches one to see the world with perception and humor. Iturralde skillfully leaves a touch of palpable mystery in the stories, giving readers an incentive to add to them their own creativity.
Again Edna Iturralde pleasantly surprises us in The Brothers that Harvested the Fairy Tales, a book in honor of the 100th anniversary of the publication of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Two boys travel inside these traditional stories while seeking for the reason that the step-mothers in them are always bad, although their own stepmother is very good. In each chapter, Iturralde intelligently constructs the narrative so as to define and hit the target at precisely the right moment.
Edna Iturralde is an ambassador of literature for children and young adults. She was nominated for the prestigious ALMA prize that the government of Sweden awards for outstanding children and young adult literature. Her new book, María Manglar, concerns a community’s fight to protect their mangroves from destruction by a shrimp company. Iturralde conceived of this beautiful book, which she tells in the style of magic realism, while talking to the people of the village of La Tola, in the mangrove forests of northwest coastal Ecuador.
‘The humanizer of the liberator’ is what I would call Edna Iturralde after reading her biographic novel, Simon Was His Name. In this book, which has been recognized nationally and internationally, she portrays Simon Bolívar as a human being, with virtues and defects, and, as in all her books, moves easily between adventure, history, multi-ethnicity and fiction.
The ‘Liberator of America’ emerges from between the lines in Simon Was His Name, the book that opened the Bicentenary in the Book Fair of Cuba. With this book, Edna Iturralde will certainly let him continue to conquer young hearts in another thousand battles. .
In the Latin-American Cannon for Children and Young Adult Literature, Green Was My Forest was selected as one of the ten best children and young adult books of the 20th century Its author, Edna Iturralde, is the most prolific and honored Ecuadorian writer of children and young adult literature. She is not only a good writer, but also a warm person, with great imagination and a magnificent sense of humor.
Edna Iturralde is a skillful author for children and young adults, “the hope of the world”, who has jealously conserved a dialogue with her inner child – a child who has never stopped whispering to her creatively and lovingly. Critics justly consider her to be the most prolific and transcendent writer of her genre both in her own country, Ecuador, and in the rest of Latin America. The current “boom” in literature for Ecuadorian children and young adults must be attributed to her tremendously valuable contribution of more than 50 titles over the last three decades. In 2010, she published a biographical novel entitled Simon Was His Name, her personal homage to the Liberator Simon Bolívar. This novel, which won the Ecuadorian National Prize for Young Adult Literature, was also published in Cuba, concurrently with its book fair dedicated to the Bicentennial of six Latin American countries. Equally admirable has been Edna Iturralde’s writing for children and young adults in newspapers. She started by contributing weekly stories to the Quito magazine “Panorama” and then, in 1982, founded the 16-page ecological magazine “La Cometa” which she wrote and published for ten years. Edna Iturralde is the pioneer in Ecuador of narrative ethno-history, which she has enriched with her unique combination of reality, based on detailed and meticulous research, and fantasy. Her books and stories, however, also encompass social, inter-cultural, biographic and detective themes and invariably astonish readers with their depth of human sensibility, imagination, spirituality and convincing narrative power. The diverse facets of her admirable literature have radiated the magic of a fairy to three generations of children and adolescents throughout a large part of Our America.
Edna Iturralde’s book Green Was My Forest has been selected from among 151 publications as one of the ten best publications in the List of Outstanding Latin American Children and Young Adult Literature of the Twentieth Century, a competition that was organized by the publisher SM with the support of the libraries, archives and museums of Chile. That she received this recognition, for herself and for Ecuador, comes as no surprise, given the superb writing style that marks Edna Iturralde’s literature.
The Day of Yesterday, by Ecuador’s most prolific writer of children and young adult literature, takes us by the hand into the world of an adolescent, Daniela, who has been infected by the AIDS virus. The book also shows us the tragic consequences of the emigrations from Ecuador and other Latin American countries that have left so many children and young people defenseless – emigrations that also involve the foul business of “coyotes”, the people who organize and charge for the travel of illegal immigrants. This is a book that was needed, and it appears at opportune moment, when the social and emotional after-effects of the massive emigrations of the last few years needed to be profoundly evaluated and is written with courage and subtlety. It is written with courage and subtlety.
The author threads together the present with the heroic past to honor the 10th of August 1809, the date when Ecuadoreans began their struggle for independence. Johnny Noodles, the main character, discovers this date’s significance thanks to a magic computer his aunt has given him for his birthday. It turns out to be a present touched with mystery. In continuous dialogue with the Chat, Internet and the computer’s screen, Johnny has a fantastic adventure: he becomes part of a virtual game and participates in the historical events of Ecuador’s first attempt to achieve independence from Spain. He evens helps to resolve some problems of that period, converses (irreverently) with Ferdinand VII and Charles IV, and confronts Napoleon Bonaparte and Bonaparte’s brother, Joseph (nicknamed ‘Joe the Bottle’). The novel is packed with conspirators and insurgents, jails and patriots. Edna Iturralde dominants a playful narrative style that grips children’s interest and skillfully maintains Johnny’s coherent character even across the time barrier of two hundred years.
Edna Iturralde, in her novel, The Day of Yesterday, convincingly depicts Daniela, the principal character, as an innocent victim of the cruel illness of AID whose family and friends ostracize her, but who finds true friendship in an unforgettable band of comrades. The novel also deals realistically with the scourge of human trafficking and illegal emigrates. Iturralde writes in a clear, unembellished style that also realistically portrays the novel’s other characters. She even includes a touching lyric that will inspire tenderness in young and old readers alike. I was particularly enchanted by Daniela’s star game: ‘There are as many stars as people are in the world….and as long as your star is there and someone will recognize it, you will be remembered… so you won’t go away completely.” Iturralde leaves the novel’s ending ambiguous, thereby allowing the reader to retain hope that Daniela’s tragedy may end happily, and that she will find a way out of the precipices in her life. .
For some years, Edna Iturralde has been the best representatives of Ecuadorian literature. Her labor in the worthy task of recovering our indigenous, Spanish and African roots in simple and beautiful literary language is original and unique. In her book The Children of the Guacamaya Iturralde weaves a marvelous tapestry from the warp of history and the subtle and changing woof of fantasy, while masterfully describing the conflicts, romances, humors and tragedies of an ancient story.
To speak of Edna Iturralde is recognize the value of Children’s Literature, that large hospitable house, which shelters a wide range of themes and diversity of sources, from oral traditions to the burning issues of our contemporary society. Iturralde’s narrative The Islands Where the Moon is Born, An Adventure in the Galapagos Islands, treats current problems but does not ignore the ancestral cultural roots from which she has drawn inspiration for many of her other books. Iturralde is the pioneer in Ecuador of ethno-literature, defined as the recreation of a culture through a literature based on cultural memories and legacies. Few people in Ecuador have called attention to its rich and diverse culture. Edna Iturralde is distinguished among those few, and her copious imagination has made Ecuador’s reality and people known well beyond its frontiers. Since ancient times, birds have been depicted as supernatural helpers and symbols of human souls. The novel uses the magical transformation of the novel’s two twin, girl heroines into sea gulls to give the story its direction and meaning. .
Without doubt, Edna Iturralde occupies a principal place in the ever-richer panorama of Ecuadorian literature for children and adolescents. This author’s outstanding capabilities, including her imagination, skill in narrative fiction, human and poetic sensibility, skillful use of material, and great ability to construct narrative, have been shown in her transcendent books: the novels Walkers of the Sun and The Children of the Guacamaya and her exceptional stories in When the Guns Fell Silent. Her talents have reappeared once again in The Islands where the Moon was Born, an attractive novel that combines its narrative material with great ability to fuse reality and fantasy. The hidden talents of a special girl, a sense of humor that sweetens the difficulties of current and past moments, a profound tenderness and magic, all combine to construct a narrative universe that unfolds towards an exemplary ending, which breaks with the manqué stereotypes of good and bad. The girl heroines and their small pet dog, the sea gulls Beautifulvalient and Ernest, and all the other magic inhabitants of the most extraordinary region of Ecuador are unforgettable characters in this book.
Animals recount this story about the origin of the Canaris, indigenous peoples of Ecuador who believed the macaws to be sacred birds. Edna Iturralde sprinkles the story with exciting events, mixing humor with adventure. The book’s structure is based on the Canaris matrilineal tradition, in which the wisdom of the Yachaks, women who cure infirmities of soul and body with natural and spiritual medicines, which has been passed down for millennium from grandmothers to mothers and granddaughters.
Once again Edna Iturralde’s the long and dedicated trajectory in working for and with children has made itself present in the world of letters. In her books, Edna Iturralde often deals with issues of inter-culturalism, ethnicity, minorities and at-risk peoples. These concerns are palpable in her latest book, The Islands where the Moon is Born. In particular, this novel concerns an issue which many people, preferring to divert their eyes, ignore: the harsh reality of the millions of displaced peoples in the world and, notoriously, in our conflictive Latin America. The book does provide a glimmer of hope, however, even in the most terrible of situations, by exploring the theme of how people learn to adapt to new situations – as the fauna of the Galapagos has also adapted .
Although Edna Iturralde addresses issues that a panel of adult experts could discuss, she presents real situations with a magic and jocosity that entrances young readers while raising their consciousness about contamination, refugee children, emigrants and environmental irresponsibility. Edna Iturralde has an outstanding ability to combine in her writing fantasy with serious issues.
Edna Iturralde’s books adhere better than many others to the Horatian principle of mixing the sweet with the utilitarian. They are not only beautiful books but their characters educate their readers. Above all, they are the fruit of creativity and of a love for the beautiful and simple. Although the young are her target audience, her literature will be appreciated and enjoyed by readers of all ages.
Edna Iturralde is a Ecuador’s most prolific writer for children and young adults. She is notable for how she has created the tools for our youth, through reading, to grow up with a clear American consciousness of the truth that we are a multiethnic and plural cultural continent, with real, undeniable differences from other parts of the world. And these differences are what the author records and diffuses in her beautiful books.
Next to the Sky is a book whose value surpasses only that of literature, written as it is with love, intelligence, wisdom, memory and a great capacity to scrutinize the innermost details of daily life. How well Edna Iturralde writes! How well she narrates her luminous stories! She knows how to create suspense and, at the same time, to transmit her warm vision of life and its unquestionable values
The stories in When the Guns Fell Silent tell distinct dramatic histories whose protagonists are children who have suffered the miseries of war in Palestine, Afghanistan, Colombia, Chechenia, Bosnia, Liberia, Sudan and other countries, based on serious research into these countries social, historical and political background.
Edna Iturralde’s literature reflects her commitment to humanistic ideas and her respect for ethnic and social differences. A unifying thread of tolerance, equity, opposition to racial or any other form of discrimination and defense of diversity and social inclusion threads through her work.
I have tasted with delight Mitee and the Song of the Whales. Adults as well as children will find this an attractive and impassioned novel. It harmoniously combines the prevalent human desire both to predict the future and to travel to the past. The symbolism of the whale, “the soul of the world”, fits perfectly with the Edna Iturralde’s beautiful narrative style. I am particularly pleased that the Shaman is a woman. For her ability to combine and weave together historical facts with her unlimited creativity Edna deserves all the admiration of us who know about archeology.
I celebrate the appearance of Mitee and the Song of the Whales. Edna Iturralde’s style is to weave clearly and entertainingly history together with fantasy. She skillfully combines diverse planes of space and time and strings together well-chosen, small jewels of erudite and interesting data (i.e. ‘Each whale has special marks on its tail by which we can be recognized’). In this new novel, the main character is a child who travels through time and reminds us of the ties between Mexicans and Ecuadorians that go back more than 3,000 years.
Edna Iturralde, author and accomplice of her stories’ characters, perfectly fulfills children’s expectations. She walks in the world of children, uniting with them and offering them a hand to go to Never, Never Land. Only the subtle pen of Edna Iturralde could treat a theme such as the one of The Mystery of the Color Poops – a subject that is so simple and normal, yet embarrassing to adults. But children read (or listen to) and understand its naughty history, following its mystery with the most delicious laughter.
In addition to her exuberant narrative and ingenious ability to create unexpected conclusions and vivid characters, Edna Iturralde has an extraordinary ability is to avail herself of children and young adults to interpret each character and charm beginning readers. She is the first Ecuadorian author who, in a search for our integration as a society, demonstrates to children our different ethnic differences and rich cultural diversity. She thereby unites us and increases our feelings of national identify and self-esteem.
Edna Iturralde braids together in excellent literary compositions, including stories and novels, the elements typical of her writing: narrative agility; versatile dialogue, and clear discourse. Although her readers, no matter their age, comprehend and learn, her literature never loses its narrative coherence. From her literary capability flow actions by children or young adults, that arise from their affections and personal dramas: the anxieties and the happiness that they share, and the optimism that permits them to imagine a better future for themselves. Her books consistently weave together multiculturalism, national histories, sexual equality, inter-personal relationships, moral values and attitudes, and respect for nature. She does not blindly insert distorted historical and cultural data into her literature but inserts them clearly and precisely, based on the results of rigorous research, as shown by her meticulous references. Nonetheless, her ethnic and multicultural stories and novels do not derive entirely from research in libraries nor on oral traditions. Edna Iturralde goes to the different places where her stories unfold and interacts with the people who live there. She shares their life for a time, and so is able accurately to capture what she requires to transform their experiences into stories and novels. Beatriz Sarlo says that the culture of the current generation of children is not of letters but of images. From the images that Edna Iturralde so masterly creates, however, it is possible that children will return to letters and to reading. That gives Edna Iturralde’s books their importance: they are an enthusiastic invitation to children to make the reading of her stories, adventures, magic, and myths into a marvelous adventure. She says, with reason that she writes “with enthusiasm and love”.
Mitee and the Song of the Whales takes us on an adventure with a boy of the Machalilla culture, more than 3,000 years ago, in the Pacifico Ocean off the Ecuadorian coast, on board a raft on on the back of a whale.
The metamorphoses in the ‘mestizaje’ are innumerable and invite new explorations of the concept over past times and on all continents. Edna Iturralde’s able pen tells the story of a real person, one of the first ‘meztizas’: the daughter of the Spanish conquistador Diego de Sandoval and the Inca princes Ninacuro Yupanqui, sister of the Inca Atahualpa. Once again Iturralde starts with reality and then enriches it with her capacity for fantasy and narrative. She transports Eugenia to Spain in search of her Spanish roots and then back to the New World. Eugenia discovers that she admires her indigenous inheritance of the soul of a condor more than her Spanish inheritance of the heart of the lion. This book invites us to understand our mestizo heritage and thereby increase our self-esteem – a self-esteem so lacking in this country and on this continent.
Edna Iturralde has established her unique writing style with her ethno-historical literature. She skillfully threads together history and entertainment, reinforcing our Ecuadorian and Latin American identify by making us feel proud of our cultural roots.
Edna Iturralde’s style makes all who know her admire her. We like her work, we read it, and we share it with all the children and young people who surround us. Not only this, BUT this “frica”, as we Negros say, gives Edna gives an enthusiasm and love which surpasses the boundaries of children literature, publishing houses and prizes. Thank-you for being a great ‘babalu’ who enables us to the life that lies behind the eyes of boys and girls.
Through her children and young adult literature Edna has accomplished the magnificent task, the beauty of literary creation, of “re-enchanting the world”, with her words, poetry and imagination.
On one occasion, I commented that Edna Iturralde is a magician of children literature. However, the more I know her work the more I am inclined to think that she is a Shaman who travels through time and space.
Edna Iturralde goes beyond the strictly folkloric and describes and tells of the values of a people, of a culture, of an ethnic group through an earthy tie with the poetic, in a way that is deeply communicative and easy to understand and come to love.
To speak of Edna Iturralde means to speak of someone who add to her great capacity to write, an innate sensitivity to children and young adults. She is able to improve their lives through an instrument that surpasses all technologies and which, in spite of the blows it has recently received has not been eliminated. I mean his Majesty, The Book! Her books are so interesting that they are not only read but have been made into plays acted out by students all over the country. These children will never lose the message of the books that have been embedded in their hearts and memories.
Edna Iturralde has decided to combine in excellent literary compositions, stories and novels, the elements that are characteristic of her work, narrative agility and dialogue versatility, and which enable readers of all ages to comprehend and learn. Characteristic of her writing are inter-culturalism, historic references, equality of the sexes in the construction, treatment and relations of characters, cultural identity, respect for nature, and the relevance of values and attitudes.
I have known few authors more rigorous in their documentation, and more enthusiastic in explaining to children and adolescents of her country their origins, land, history, people, and customs. And I have known few writers with greater sensitivity, delicacy and courage in confronting difficult circumstances. Edna Iturralde’s literature possesses the great quality, perhaps the most important one, of being very close to children and adolescents and of having a very special spirit and an uncommon ability to communicate. Her imagination equals that of children, which as all adults know, is infinite, always full of whys and of reflections that fill us with quetions.
Edna Iturralde can be happy and proud to have reached profoundly into the beautiful souls of children. In The Pirate Crazy Beard, the most feared pirate of the seven seas, an imposing figure, has a P hanging on his chest. Children discover that the P does not stand for Pirate but for Papa. Through this story, Edna teaches children that values and love remain in all humans, although for different reasons sometimes hidden, and that they can open like the petals of a flower given the right circumstances. In her story The Great Secret, Edna chooses the theme of extra-terrestrials to demonstrate humorously and tenderly how greatly mothers love their children. I have been a teacher for over three decades, and so I can confirm the importance of books of stories in the education of children. Although the classic stories will continue to exist, Edna Iturralde, among current authors, has developed a new comprehension and methodology for telling stories, in which unexpected elements convert children from passive receptors into curious participants.
Edna Iturralde writes fiction skillfully, filling her books with life, mixing real people with characters who burst forth from her imagination. She entraps the reader with her fluid and elegant prose, which, in its apparent simplicity, demonstrates her excellent dominion over the language, mastery of gender issues, and deep respect for the cultural values of the cultures about which she writes. For all these reasons, Edna Iturralde’s literature rescues elements of cultural identity and revaluates transcendent historical facts. Her literature leaves readers with a profound message of hope. It permits us to glimpse the road which will permit boys and girls to become familiar with our roots and history.
Edna Iturralde’s literature is a new example of “multicultural literature”. Its “Anthropology of Dialogue” erase the boundaries between culture, history and arte.
Edna Iturralde’s specialty is children and adolescent literature. But she really writes for readers of all ages. Although recognized particularly for her inter-cultural and ethnic subjects, she easily and skillfully deals with a great variety of themes in her books.
Edna Iturralde’s research in the field of child psychology and her travels to many places in our beautiful country have led her to write multicultural stories and novels. She makes her own the requirements of peoples who wish to see themselves reflected in her writing. Edna feeds the spirit of children, helping them to fortify our culture, whose memory will otherwise be lost and banished.
Edna Iturralde is a passionate Ecuadorian writer. She collects the essence of the Ecuadorian nationality and conveys it in magic narratives for the marvelous world of children. In all her books she uses her ‘magic wand’ to weave, point-by-point, or better said, letter by letter, an extraordinary cloak of fantasy, suspense, and encounters with the past, seasoning them all with the spice of magic – of both the possible and impossible kinds.
I am sure that the literature of Edna Iturralde will contribute to recovering the self-esteem we have lost and are looking for as a country. Her literature will help us imagine a better country, one that can be recovered in the scents of maturing cacao in the gardens, within the perspective of the country that we wish to discover for our children. .
Edna Iturralde in her book Walkers of the Sun, tells how the Incas arrived in what was to become Saraguro, Ecuador in order to administer the immense territory of Tahuantisuyo. This book is a true literary jewel. The author is known as “the magician of children’s literature”. Her style is attractive and lucid, and it promotes a respectful knowledge of the cultures that interact in our country.
Edna Iturralde is the author of children’s literature in Ecuador. Her literature is prolific but free of any trace of puerility. In her multicultural books, the geography, legends, idiosyncrasies, and dialects transit through pages that have been conceived with the seriousness of the tellers of tales who has become emblematic of current Ecuadorian literature for children and young adults.
Edna Iturralde gets her inspiration from the simple stories of the Ecuadorean people; from the most modest who dresses in poncho in the highlands, the ones that uses feathers ornaments in the jungle, or the fishermen in the coast. From the drums in the Chota Valley, to the beaches in Esmeraldas Province, women, afro-descendants and indigenous people, the so called minorities. Edna´s books are examples of self-respect, values in dignity and tolerance, as oppose to the indignities of our times.
This novel, J.R. Machete, can be classified as a work of social realism. Yet fantasy realism also runs through its pages, because it has two levels: the liberal revolution in Ecuador and the magic of the ancestors, represented by the Goddess Umiña, who survives from the pre-Hispanic world. Edna Iturralde masterly unites these two themes in an extraordinary and exciting adventure for children.
Edna Iturralde has achieved that difficult balance of language which permits her to penetrate effectively penetrated the select and demanding world of children. Iturralde is, without any discussion, the most important figure of Ecuadorian children’s literature.
The book Walkers of the Sun by Edna Iturralde makes her for us Saraguros, worthy of our highest respect and esteem. Few people dedicate the time required to research in libraries, consultations with historians, travel from Cuzco to Cusibamba, and visit and live with communities in order to gain a thorough understanding of indigenous issues. Through her book, Edna Iturralde has permitted us to understand our origin as privileged mitmas.
In Green Was My Forest, Edna Iturralde has written twelve stories about the daily life of Ecuadorian Amazon indigenous peoples. Although she used her imagination to create the twelve stories they are not completely fiction, since she travelled to the Amazon to learn about the way-of-life of its indigenous peoples. To the people of the jungle, this book offers a way to see their own reflection and understand themselves through Edna Iturralde’s sincere, ample and sensitive heart. To those of us who do not live in the great rain forest, the book brings us closer to its reality and permits us to discover what is there, nearby, that is also part of us: its people, vegetation, and animals united in a fragile, unique and special world. I thank you, Edna, for helping us to recognize ourselves in our colorful nation that is at both one and multiple.
Walkers of the Sun (Intinunañan) is the result of its author’s serious research into the origins of the Ecuadorian Saraguro indigenous people. Although the work is based on history, its other value is its narrative, told with fantasy and magic. In this era, in which technology places indigenous children in front of electronic super-human and surrealist fantasies, Walkers of the Sun provides children and adults with their own natural fantasy, based on the indigenous vision of the cosmos. This book will provide a positive dose of “Andean Flavor” to children’s creativity. Edna, in my name, and in that of the Saraguro ethnicity and of Taita Inti, receive an immense thank-you for your literature.
Aside her giving the theme of indigenous peoples the respect and dignity it deserves, what a good, what an excellent, story-teller Edna Iturralde is! When Edna tells a story, one simply begins to inhabit the imaginative worlds she creates. I predict that the book, Adventure in the Llanganates, will have a long life. It demonstrates that Edna has a principal role in the history of Ecuadorian literature for children and young adults.
Edna Iturralde has come to dominate the most difficult of styles, a style that is both completely simple and supremely clear. That’s why her readers smile, and more than reading, hear her tell the story. That’s why her book has a special quality, a quality that is welcome. Nothing is more difficult to do that what this writer has done effortlessly. To attain in a story this degree of simplicity, clarity and life, discarding all pretenses to literary elegance or embellishment, is something incredibly difficult, achieved only through a writer’s complete mastery.