Bless Me Ultima

Title: Bless Me Ultima 

Author: Rudolfo A. Anaya

IBSN: 0446600253

Publisher: Warner Books

Copyright Date: 1994

Genre: Folktale

Reading Level: 9th grade

Interest Age: 16 yr. +

Challenge Issues: This book has been challenged because it apparently advocates witchcraft.

Curriculum Ties: I could see this book read in an English course.

Information about author: Rudolfo A. Anaya was born on October 30, 1937. He comes from a large Mexican American family. He attended the University of New Mexico and received his degree in English. He worked as a professor for the University of New Mexico.

Anaya wrote novels and short stories. His first novel was Bless Me, Ultima. For this work he won the Premio Quinto Sol. This novel is considered a classic in Chicano literature. He is viewed by many as one of the founders of Chicano literature.  He later wrote Heart of Aztlan and Tortuga. Recently he wrote children’s books.

Plot Summary: Antonio Marez is a seven year Mexican-American boy living in New Mexico during World War 1. Unexpectedly, Ultima, an ancient healer, comes to live with his family. Throughout the novel, he grows up to learn that his family is split into two. There is his mother’s side, the Lunas, devout Roman Catholics and his father’s side, wild cowboys. He is forced to harmonize both sides include his own religious beliefs.

Critical Evaluation: When Anaya wrote Bless Me Ultima, he wrote and started the Chicano literature genre. This is a book dignified to start this genre. He weaves folklore and ancient Chicano traditions into an authentic and original story.

Reader’s annotation: Want to learn about Mexican witchcraft? LOL

Book talk ideas: Learn more about Chicano mysticism, traditions and culture through Bless Me Ultima. Bless Me Ultima will teach you about these customs all the while young Antonio finds his place within his Mexican roots and new American culture.

Why did you include this book?: This book is original Chicano literature. Most of the students/customers we are going to serve in the future will be Hispanic/Latino.

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