Nahua students from Tepaxapa and their publishing house Amatepaxi at the Xalapa 2024 National Children’s and Youth Book Fair – Diario de Xalapa

Nahua students from Tepaxapa and their publishing house Amatepaxi at the Xalapa 2024 National Children’s and Youth Book Fair – Diario de Xalapa
Nahua students from Tepaxapa and their publishing house Amatepaxi at the Xalapa 2024 National Children’s and Youth Book Fair – Diario de Xalapa

Embroidering words, embroidering images, embroidering the desire to tell, to make known, to name and thus claim the right to exist under their own vision, students from the Nahua community of Tepaxapa produce their own handcrafted books, supported by their own publishing house: Amatepaxi..

What is the history of the publishing house of the Nahua students of Tepaxapa?

As part of the community projects carried out by the José María Morelos y Pavón secondary school, students and teachers undertook the task of making handmade books, all of their own authorship. The project will not only shed light on student texts, but also seeks to be a voice for creators from the Sierra de Veracruz to publish.

This initiative will be known in Xalapa, since students were invited to present their books and editorial at the Xalapa 2024 National Children’s and Youth Book FairJuly 18 at 1:00 p.m.

Our communities have value

One of the characteristics of the handmade books made by the students of Tepaxapa is that they talk about their communities, the reality they face, nature, and their people..

“For me, participating in the creation of the handmade books has meant a lot because in the books we represent the work we do: the fertility of our lands, and the work that people do every day, especially women, whose work is often not recognized, such as their help in sustaining life; that is why it is an honor for me to have participated in the creation of the books, showing the richness of our communities and the great value that women are,” says one of the authors, Mareli Mendoza Gutiérrez, 14 years old and in the third year of high school.

Mareli explains that she participated in the book as an embroiderer and copyist.; she adds that she would like to be a writer: “I would write about the value of the land we were born on and the people who work it, but I would turn it into reflective poetry.”

Another of the authors, Lourdes Lopez Francisco14 years old and also in third grade, She indicates that she would also like to be a writer and dedicate herself, above all, to poetry.a genre that he considers his favorite.

In the production of books, she says that she had to embroider the photographs and write the phrases that accompany the image.

For Frank Merced Cid14 years old and in 3rd Grade, who is another of the authors, points out that The experience of handmade books is unique.

“I participated with my other classmates taking the photos and also writing the sentences that appear in the book. What I found most difficult was putting the books together. I liked seeing them finished and appreciating how they turned out.”indica.

He adds that after this experience he is considering becoming a writer: “I might consider it because it is another opportunity that this school gave me and I would write about the wonders of my community.”

Nahua students from Tepaxapa at the 2024 National Children’s and Youth Book Fair

Within the framework of the 5th Meeting of Writers in Indigenous Languages ​​that takes place as part of the Xalapa 2024 National Children’s and Youth Book Fair (FNLIyJ)which has the traditional Prepa Juárez as its headquarters, the Amatepaxi publishing house and the handmade books that were published will be presented.

For the Tepaxapa community, located in the municipality of Soledad Atzompa, in the High Mountains of Veracruz, about five hours from the state capital, the invitation fills them with joy, because it means recognition of their work, an opportunity to talk about their land and also an adventure, because for the young people it is the first time they travel to Xalapa.

“I feel proud to represent my school and the projects that were carried out during this school year, and with this I want to convey to other people how valuable the lands where we were born can be if we know how to value them. This is the first time I have traveled to Xalapa, and I am happy to go, especially to represent the artisanal work that we do.”points out Mareli Mendoza Gutierrez.

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Lourdes López Francisco, expresses: “It is great that they know the effort, the value, what we do here in our community. It is a pleasure to go and talk to them about what is made and I really hope to transmit joy. I have never traveled to Xalapa, for me it is a great joy; I never thought I would go, and I do feel very happy to go and present the book.”

Frank Merced Cid thinks “It will be one of the best presentations, both for us and for the books, because my colleagues and I will give our best, and what I want is for those who attend this event to know and appreciate all the activities that our communities do. I have never been to Xalapa, and since it is the first time I am going, I am excited both for the trip, because it is far away, and also for the presentation that we will do.”

Making women’s work visible is essential

Ivan Osorio Perez, director of the Tepaxapa Telesecundaria, explains that This editorial project was developed as part of the work dynamic that characterizes the school.where through solidarity workshops taught by various professionals who go to the school to share their knowledge, comprehensive and community projects are outlined.

Thus, after having learned silkscreen printing and the creation of handmade notebooks, they set about the task of making their own books. They started with a book on herbal medicine that was the result of the permanent workshop Women and their struggles.

“The book was made by the female students of our school, and from there we started with the idea of ​​continuing to make handmade books. We liked it and we realized that it was a very attractive resource for the students.”indica.

The main book that will be presented at the FNLIyJ is called 8M24 Invisible Workwhere the work that women do in the communities is made visible: “If they didn’t do it, the homes would basically fall apart, but nobody gives them the recognition they deserve or a financial contribution for doing it, which goes from cooking, cleaning, sowing the cornfield, getting firewood, etc. So, based on images that the students took of their mothers or female relatives, we decided to make a book where we could show and praise the work of women who receive little recognition.”

He points out that the photographs, embroidery, painting, texts, everything was made by the students.; the idea of ​​doing this work is also to see it as a way of obtaining resources: “The idea of ​​selling them is so that they realize that although it is a different job from what they know, which is working with wood, it is also a job that can be profitable; we made a print run of 11 collector’s copies and the idea is to sell them to be able to recover costs and be able to distribute the profits among the students.”

Amatepaxi, a voice for the communities

The publishing house emerged as a necessity after starting to make the book 8M24 Invisible Workbecause they realized that they needed a certain independence in order to create. Although, the director indicates, the projects are 100 percent linked to secondary education training, they wanted to have editorial freedom..

“We made the decision to create a publishing house, first to be able to give free rein to our editorial projects, but also to be able to open another channel in the mountains for expression, in any of its forms, of people who perhaps cannot publish due to costs; we are not going to charge, at most we will barter, but we do not think of making this into something lucrative, that is why our publishing house also comes with the legend of ‘Creative Commons’, so that anyone can make use of what is produced, as long as they cite us; so that is why the Amatepaxi publishing house was born, and it is currently made up of the school’s teaching staff, because it is going to be something rotating, because there is a flow of teachers, a flow of students; so each year, with each project, that editorial board will change,” says Osorio Perez.

The publishing house will produce digital and handmade books; the handmade ones will be only for the school’s authors, and the digital ones will be open to creators from the mountains. They point out that calls will be launched so that writers from the communities can participate; and that a catalogue of digital books for free download will also be created for the population of the mountains.

Osorio Pérez points out that the edition of digital books will be free of charge, only with barter, because it is about giving the opportunity “that anyone can publish, especially those from our mountain communities and people from minorities.”

The community of Telesecundaria Tepaxapa invites you to learn about their work at the presentation they will make on Thursday, July 18 at 1:00 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Xalapa Preparatory School, at the Xalapa 2024 Children’s and Youth Book Fair.

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