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Changing Woman and her Sisters: Stories of Goddesses from Around the World Hardcover – March 1, 2006
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4 Up–Empowered women are the focus of this collection and empowering young women is seemingly its intention. Drawing from the mythology of 10 diverse cultures (Navajo, Celtic, Inuit, Buddhist, Egyptian, Mayan, Shinto, Sumerian, Hindu, and Fon), Tchana demonstrates that legends of supernaturally gifted females are endemic in human belief systems, though they may have receded into the background in recent millennia. Tchana and Hyman united to bring goddesses back into the limelight in this handsome volume. The stories are each accompanied by a paragraph about the featured figure and her land of origin and each one is told with attention to the rhythms of their original languages. In an afterword, Hyman states that she contacted each goddess personally…[to]…ask how she would like to be portrayed. The resultant lush, multimedia collages combine her characteristically sinuous ink lines with elements such as photographs, handmade paper, fabric, and fragments of other artists' paintings. It is certainly interesting to read about so many previously obscure goddesses. The subject of this volume, paired with the reputation of its illustrator, will induce many libraries to include it in their collections. –Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
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*Starred Review* Gr. 5-8. This large, handsome volume assembles well-chosen, well-told stories of 10 goddesses from different cultures. Varying greatly in setting and plot, the tales focus on deities from outside the familiar Greek, Roman, and Norse traditions, such as Changing Woman (Navajo), Macha (Celtic), Sedna (Inuit), Kuan-yin (Buddhist), Ix Chel (ancient Maya), and Ameterasu (Shinto). Hyman, who passed away in 2004, contributed distinctive portrayals of the goddesses using a technique that melded photographs and found materials into full-page ink and acrylic paintings. The contrast between the paintings and the incorporated elements creates a hyperreal, otherworldly quality in some of the pictures that makes the striking, central images of the goddesses all the more powerful. Tchana offers a lengthy afterword celebrating the wisdom of the goddesses, forgotten by Earth's peoples but now ready for rediscovery, and provides sources for each story as well as a personal note tracing her spiritual search and her research. In an artist's note, Hyman offers insight into how she approached the project and gives readers an unusually full account of the processes she used to create each picture. Carolyn Phelan
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