Fifteen-year old crown prince Acolmiztli wants nothing more than to see his city-state of Tetzcoco thrive. A singer, poet, and burgeoning philosophical mind, he has big plans about infrastructure projects and cultural initiatives that will bring honor to his family and help his people flourish. But the two sides of his family, the kingdoms of Mexico and Acolhuacan, have been at war his entire life – after his father risked the wrath of the Tepanec emperor to win his mother's love.
When a power struggle leaves his father dead and his mother and siblings in exile, Acolmiztli must run for his life, seeking refuge in the wilderness. After a coyote helps him find his way in the wild, he takes on a new name – Nezahualcoyotl, or "fasting coyote" ("Neza" for short).
Biding his time until he can form new alliances and reconnect with his family, Neza goes undercover, and falls in love with a commoner girl, Sekalli. Can Neza survive his plotting uncles' scheme to wipe out his line for good? Will the empire he dreams of in Tetzcoco ever come to life? And is he willing to risk the lives of those he loves in the process?
This action-packed tale blends prose and poetry – including translations of surviving poems by Nezahualcoytl himself, translated from classical Nahuatl by the author. And the book is packed with queer rep – queer love stories, and a thoughtful of pre-Columbian understandings of gender that defy the contemporary Western gender binary.
From Pura Belpré honoree David Bowles comes a young adult epic about one of the greatest minds of the Americas (honored to this day on Mexico's 100-peso bill).
About the Author
Amanda Mijangos was born in Mexico City and is the founder of the illustration studio Cuarto para las 3. Her work has been recognized with awards several times and in 2017 she was the winner of the VIII Iberoamerica Illustra Catalog.
David Bowles is the award-winning author and translator of more than two dozen books for children and teens, among them They Call Me Güero, My Two Border Towns, and The Sea-Ringed World. His work has been published in multiple anthologies, plus venues such as The New York Times, School Library Journal, Translation Review, and the Journal of Children's Literature. In 2019, David co-founded the activist movement Dignidad Literaria to fight for the literary and cultural dignity of Latinx people in US publishing and education.