A fictional children’s book based on real New Mexican folklore started as a dream for two local brothers and now they’re trying to make it a reality—but they’ll need your help getting it onto bookshelves.
Set in the village of Algodones in 1949, “Under the Cottonwood Tree: El Susto de la Curandera” incorporates New Mexico’s rich history while sharing a valuable lesson about forgiveness and friendship.
“It’s highlighting just the same way Mark Twain highlighted that culture of that time, we’re hoping to highlight our culture,” said co-author Carlos Meyer.
It’s a fictional tale of a curandera who lives alone in the bosque. She casts a spell on a village boy that turns him into a calf, and the rest of the book involves a quest to turn him back.
“The children have an adventure that day amongst the cottonwood trees in the Bosque, and they would discover why the curandera has turned into a witch,” said co-author Paul Meyer.
Albuquerque natives, co-authors and brothers Paul and Carlos, grew up playing in the bosque.
The book itself is based off a dream Paul had as a boy about a talking calf.
“I said, ‘Wow, that’s a pretty cool dream,’ so I wrote it down. I wrote it down and I said I’m going to write a little story about it,” said Carlos.
Over the years it’s taken on many forms. A short version was even picked up by famed Chicano publisher Octavio I. Romano.
This latest one has been eight years in the making.
“Being a native New Mexican, I really wanted to shine a light on this culture that isn’t represented a lot in television or literature,” said Paul.
The 166-page graphic novel is now complete.
The brothers have reached out to the public via Kickstarter to help raise money to print the first set of books.
“There’s a lot of expenses for printing a book so that’s what we’re hoping to do. We’re hoping to help with the printing cost,” said Carlos.
“It started as a literal dream, and now is metaphorically a dream that is coming to fruition,” said Paul.
The brothers are currently about a third of the way to their $6,000 goal.