Teresa of the New World: A Novel by Sharman Apt RussellTeresa of the New World: A Novel by Sharman Apt Russell

Teresa of the New World: A Novel

bySharman Apt Russell

Hardcover | March 3, 2015

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about

-Winner of the Arizona Author's Association Award for Children's Literature
-Runner-up for the Arizona Book of the Year
-Finalist for the 2016 WILLA Award for Children's/Young Adult Fiction
-Finalist for the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards
-IndieFab Finalist

In 1528, the real-life conquistador Cabeza de Vaca shipwrecked in the New World where he lived for eight years as a slave, trader, and shaman. In this lyrical weaving of history and myth, the adventurer takes his young daughter Teresa from her home in Texas to walk westward into the setting sun, their travels accompanied by miracles--visions and prophecies. But when Teresa reaches the outposts of New Spain, life is not what her father had promised.

As a kitchen servant in the household of a Spanish official, Teresa grows up estranged from the magic she knew as a child, when she could speak to the earth and listen to animals. When a new epidemic of measles devastates the area, the sixteen-year-old sets off on her own journey, befriending a Mayan were-jaguar who cannot control his shape-shifting and a warhorse abandoned by his Spanish owner. Now Teresa moves through a land stalked by Plague: smallpox as well as measles, typhus, and scarlet fever.

Soon it becomes clear that Teresa and her friends are being manipulated and driven by forces they do not understand. To save herself and others, Teresa will find herself listening again to the earth, sinking underground, swimming through limestone and fossil, opening to the power of root and stone. As she searches for her place in the New World, she will travel farther and deeper than she had ever imagined.

Rich in historical detail and scope, Teresa of the New World takes you into the dreamscape of the sixteenth-century American Southwest.

Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readers—picture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft; stories told with LEGO bricks; books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
Sharman Apt Russell has lived in the numinous deserts of the American Southwest for most of her life. She is a longtime professor at Western New Mexico University and Antioch University in L.A. and the award-winning author of numerous essays, short stories, and books, including Hunger and An Obsession with Butterflies.
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Title:Teresa of the New World: A NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:192 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.63 inPublished:March 3, 2015Publisher:Yucca PublishingLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1631580426

ISBN - 13:9781631580420

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A well-researched and powerful book Sharman Apt Russell begins this tale of womanhood, magic, and disease with little Teresa, a half-Spanish, half-Indian girl who can talk to Earth, the giant turtle who moves very slowly through the empty sky, and the animals who live on Earth's back. Along her journey through Spanish-occupied Mexico, Teresa loses her conquistador father to his love of Spain while foreign diseases steal her mother and most of the indigenous people. Disease is the villain of the story. It is unfortunately a timeless villain, and extremely difficult to portray without sounding preachy. Russell is an experienced non-fiction science writer and her skill in research-backed storytelling shows in this novel. Rather than tell us why we should all vaccinate our kids, Russell shows us what measles did when there was nothing anyone could do about it: When measles hits her Spanish-controlled village, Teresa stops work in the kitchen and begins caring for the sick. She sees the rash, the fever, the little corpses, the wrinkled corpses, the breakdown of routine, and the penetrating fear, before contracting the disease herself. Teresa's world is a world without vaccines, where viral disease is believed to be the work of spirits who cannot touch you twice, and magic is either a gift or a reason to be burned at the stake. It is fitting that Teresa's magic and immunity to measles play an integral part in her battle against Plague. Like the iconic European depiction of cholera as the Grim Reaper, Russell turns the European diseases ravaging Mexico into a tangible villain. He readily admits to Teresa that he likes Mexico City. Mexico City is a hot spot for epidemics due to trade and having a large number of people. He changes shape to fool his victims into letting him into the villages, yet he cannot ride a horse by himself. Viruses such as measles and smallpox hide from the immune system long enough to reproduce, but they cannot reproduce with a host cell. I can see Teresa In The New World as a movie, and I don't say that about a lot of books. Rating 5/5.
Date published: 2015-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A well-researched and powerful book Sharman Apt Russell begins this tale of womanhood, magic, and disease with little Teresa, a half-Spanish, half-Indian girl who can talk to Earth, the giant turtle who moves very slowly through the empty sky, and the animals who live on Earth's back. Along her journey through Spanish-occupied Mexico, Teresa loses her conquistador father to his love of Spain while foreign diseases steal her mother and most of the indigenous people. Disease is the villain of the story. It is unfortunately a timeless villain, and extremely difficult to portray without sounding preachy. Russell is an experienced non-fiction science writer and her skill in research-backed storytelling shows in this novel. Rather than tell us why we should all vaccinate our kids, Russell shows us what measles did when there was nothing anyone could do about it: When measles hits her Spanish-controlled village, Teresa stops work in the kitchen and begins caring for the sick. She sees the rash, the fever, the little corpses, the wrinkled corpses, the breakdown of routine, and the penetrating fear, before contracting the disease herself. Teresa's world is a world without vaccines, where viral disease is believed to be the work of spirits who cannot touch you twice, and magic is either a gift or a reason to be burned at the stake. It is fitting that Teresa's magic and immunity to measles play an integral part in her battle against Plague. Like the iconic European depiction of cholera as the Grim Reaper, Russell turns the European diseases ravaging Mexico into a tangible villain. He readily admits to Teresa that he likes Mexico City. Mexico City is a hot spot for epidemics due to trade and having a large number of people. He changes shape to fool his victims into letting him into the villages, yet he cannot ride a horse by himself. Viruses such as measles and smallpox hide from the immune system long enough to reproduce, but they cannot reproduce with a host cell. I can see Teresa In The New World as a movie, and I don't say that about a lot of books. Rating 5-5.
Date published: 2015-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Book Thief fans: bold heroine, magic, & history! Much awaited by fans of Sharman Apt Russell, Teresa of the New World does not disappoint. Russell writes award-winning science books, articles, and imaginative prose. All her work – fiction and non-fiction -- is moving, aesthetically rich, respectful of her readers, and interesting throughout. Readers benefit not only from Russell’s poetic creativity and unique point of view but also from her renowned and diverse skill set as a researcher and citizen scientist who can weave what might otherwise be dry facts into an entrancing backdrop. For example, the diseases profiled are startling and relevant considering they remain a modern threat. The callous expansionism remaking Teresa’s world has echoes – or perhaps ricochets - on multiple continents in ours. Even so the author strikes a balance between the historical backdrop and the action of the story; I never felt overwhelmed by the history because she keeps the movement flowing. All the backstory is revealed in the action or dialogue. Even more importantly, when Russell is weaving an essential thread, she gives the reader room to breathe and think. The readers have time and space to make up their own minds about the meanings of the story to them personally. Additionally, Russell layers in not only tribal customs as well as the names of places and plants, but the sources of this new information. The reader effortlessly learns a great deal about many interlocking subjects while enjoying an exciting story. Russell shares knowledge gently and naturally rather than just dumping data. Teresa of the New World would be a good choice for readers who enjoyed The Book Thief, Death and the Archbishop, Fever 1793, or The American Girl series. This would be an appropriate book for high school, middle school, and even mature elementary school students who are advanced readers. While Teresa is a wonderful main character who will appeal to readers from middle school to adult, the supporting cast is also worthy of equal praise. They are varied, well-rounded, and strong individuals. It’s the sort of book that I imagined a voice and even mannerisms for every character very quickly. (My favorite character is Horse.) I hope it finds its way into the hands of an innovative animation team. Poignantly, Teresa’s father’s role evolves in her heart and mind throughout the story, whether he was physically with her or not. Several years ago Russell wrote in an essay to her father: “Your absence became a presence.” How many of us of all ages will this resound with—who have lost a parent some way or another? And many of us find someone in our lives who takes over that role, even temporarily. We aren’t just processing the surreal relationship with our absent original parent but also adjusting to a new relationship, perhaps reminding ourselves as Teresa does that the new person is “…like her father, but not her father.” This book might subtly help individuals and families open up about parents who are absent for any reason. “It was her father who told the best stories, wrapping her in his arms and language, whispering about a life she did not understand…” Teresa and her father are precious to each other because of language and status. As an outsider from another culture, the father has few practical skills and no one to speak with in Spanish. Likewise, Teresa has recently lost her position of the baby of the family making her feel lonely and neglected. By telling his daughter stories, Teresa’s father creates a Spanish-speaking, adoring listener who begs him to tell more stories. “Later she would remember every word – she, the blank page on which he wrote.” Even as a small child, Teresa is good-natured, displaying curiosity and intelligence. Without risking too many spoilers: along her path she goes on to develop character traits and skills such as resilience, tenacity, empathy, compassion, respect, loyalty, perception, negotiation, leadership, and wisdom. The book isn’t preachy at all; the action gives Teresa – and the reader - opportunities to discover how much her potential and realization are growing. I heartily recommend Teresa of the New World.
Date published: 2015-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Book Thief fans: bold heroine, history, & magic! Much awaited by fans of Sharman Apt Russell, Teresa of the New World does not disappoint. Russell writes award-winning science books, articles, and imaginative prose. All her work – fiction and non-fiction -- is moving, aesthetically rich, respectful of her readers, and interesting throughout. Readers benefit not only from Russell’s poetic creativity and unique point of view but also from her renowned and diverse skill set as a researcher and citizen scientist who can weave what might otherwise be dry facts into an entrancing backdrop. For example, the diseases profiled are startling and relevant considering they remain a modern threat. The callous expansionism remaking Teresa’s world has echoes – or perhaps ricochets - on multiple continents in ours. Even so the author strikes a balance between the historical backdrop and the action of the story; I never felt overwhelmed by the history because she keeps the movement flowing. All the backstory is revealed in the action or dialogue. Even more importantly, when Russell is weaving an essential thread, she gives the reader room to breathe and think. The readers have time and space to make up their own minds about the meanings of the story to them personally. Additionally, Russell layers in not only tribal customs as well as the names of places and plants, but the sources of this new information. The reader effortlessly learns a great deal about many interlocking subjects while enjoying an exciting story. Russell shares knowledge gently and naturally rather than just dumping data. Teresa of the New World would be a good choice for readers who enjoyed The Book Thief, Death and the Archbishop, Fever 1793, or The American Girl series. This would be an appropriate book for high school, middle school, and even mature elementary school students who are advanced readers. While Teresa is a wonderful main character who will appeal to readers from middle school to adult, the supporting cast is also worthy of equal praise. They are varied, well-rounded, and strong individuals. It’s the sort of book that I imagined a voice and even mannerisms for every character very quickly. (My favorite character is Horse.) I hope it finds its way into the hands of an innovative animation team. Poignantly, Teresa’s father’s role evolves in her heart and mind throughout the story, whether he was physically with her or not. Several years ago Russell wrote in an essay to her father: “Your absence became a presence.” How many of us of all ages will this resound with—who have lost a parent some way or another? And many of us find someone in our lives who takes over that role, even temporarily. We aren’t just processing the surreal relationship with our absent original parent but also adjusting to a new relationship, perhaps reminding ourselves as Teresa does that the new person is “…like her father, but not her father.” This book might subtly help individuals and families open up about parents who are absent for any reason. “It was her father who told the best stories, wrapping her in his arms and language, whispering about a life she did not understand…” Teresa and her father are precious to each other because of language and status. As an outsider from another culture, the father has few practical skills and no one to speak with in Spanish. Likewise, Teresa has recently lost her position of the baby of the family making her feel lonely and neglected. By telling his daughter stories, Teresa’s father creates a Spanish-speaking, adoring listener who begs him to tell more stories. “Later she would remember every word – she, the blank page on which he wrote.” Even as a small child, Teresa is good-natured, displaying curiosity and intelligence. Without risking too many spoilers: along her path she goes on to develop character traits and skills such as resilience, tenacity, empathy, compassion, respect, loyalty, perception, negotiation, leadership, and wisdom. The book isn’t preachy at all; the action gives Teresa – and the reader - opportunities to discover how much her potential and realization are growing. I heartily recommend Teresa of the New World.
Date published: 2015-05-31