The Eagle and the Rainbow 

Antonio Hernandez Madrigal 


In this collection of hard-to-find Mexican folktales, brilliant, robust illustrations highlight each of the indigenous cultures of Mexico. Brave Aztec warriors, artistic Tarascans, feet endurance runners of the Tarahumaras, and many other intriguing legends bring ancient Mexico alive.

Reader Activities

What is a Metaphor?

Fairy tales, myths, and legends are often rife with metaphors. Metaphors are instances in fiction, poetry, or song lyrics when an object or event is a stand-in for something else, especially an abstract construct like family or love. 

This collection of stories is no different. For example, in The Boy Who Cried Jade Tears, Balam's jade tears may be metaphors for hard work, or giving credit where it is due. 

Reread one of these stories or the entire collection. Pick out as many metaphors as you can. Explain what you think they are metaphors for and why you think they are metaphors for those things using evidence from the text.

It's the end of the world and we're tackling Mesoamerican myth. 

Themes Across Cultures

In the video about the feathered serpent to the left, the narrator discusses how Quetzalcoatl made his way into the lore of other cultures, such as the Mormons. How do you think this happened? Why? Do some research to find similar instances of prevalent themes appearing across cultures. 








Your Culture, Your Story

The stories in this book are from the several native tribes of Mexico. Where are your ancestors from? Ask your parents or a relative if you don't know. 

Do some research to find stories from your own culture. Examine the elements and themes of the stories. Write a paragraph or short essay about why these elements may be important to your culture. For example, Tribe of the Deer is likely important to the Tarascan people because deer were their food source and they used their skins for clothing.

Then pick one of the stories you find to read aloud to the class.

Supplemental Videos and Materials 

Take a look Mexico's Street Art Explosion

A street art movement borrowing from the country's indigenous past is sweeping Mexico City. But this is more than just graffiti. The new urban 'street art' movement sweeping the former Aztec capital borrows heavily from Mexico's indigenous past. But artists are using a very modern tool - Instagram - to spread the message to hundreds of thousands of followers.

Pixar's Coco is filled with Mexican folklore, history, and the importance of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)