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Books | Web Sites


For Teachers

Breaking the Maya Code by Michael D. Coe. (Thames & Hudson, 1999)
A personal account of the deciphering of Maya script.

The Cities of Ancient Mexico by Jeremy Sabloff. (Thames & Hudson, 1997)
An intriguing look at life as it might have been in the cities of ancient Mexico.

The Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya by Simon Martin, Mary Miller, and Kathleen Berrin. (Thames & Hudson, 2004)
An illustrated examination of royal life in ancient Mayan culture.

Exploring Mesoamerica by John M.D. Pohl. (Oxford University Press, 1999)
In-depth coverage of 18 of the best-known archeological sites of ancient Central America, including Maya sites.

Handbook to Life in the Ancient Maya World by Lynn Foster. (Facts on Files, 2002)
A useful compendium of essays on various aspects of the ancient Mayan civilization.

Maya Monuments by Nigel Hughes (Antique Collector's Club, 2000)
Stunning photographs make this a useful visual reference book.

Scribes, Warriors, and Kings: The City of Copán and the Ancient Maya by William L. Fash. (Thames & Hudson, 1991)
The remarkable archeological discoveries made at Copán are presented with black-and-white photographs, maps, and other primary sources.

For Students


The Corn Grows Ripe by Dorothy Rhoads. (Puffin, 1993)
Tigre, a 12-year-old Mayan boy living in a modern day village in Yucataan, must learn to be a man when his father is injured.

Heart of a Jaguar by Marc Talbert. (Aladdin, 1997)
Set just after the great city Chichen Itza was deserted, 14-year-old Balam struggles with his family and community to cope with drought. For older readers.

The Hummingbird King: A Guatemalan Legend by Argentina Palacios. (Troll, 1993)
An evil uncle plots against his nephew is this illustrated folktale.

Lady of Palenque by Anna Kirwan. (Scholastic, 2004)
The Royal Diary series. Set in Chiapas, A.D. 749, this is the story of 13-year-old Princess Green Jay, who is betrothed to an older man partly because she can read and write.

Me Oh Maya by Jon Scieszka (Puffin, 2005)
The Trio land in the middle of a ball game in ancient Mexico — will they be sacrificed to the gods?

Rain Player by David Wisniewski. (Clarion, 1995)
Inspired by ancient Mayan culture, this folktale tells the story of Pik, who challenges the god of rain to a ball game. For younger readers.

The Well of Sacrifice by Chris Eboch. (Clarion, 1999)
Eveningstar Macaw, who lives in a 9th century Mayan city, must confront the evil High Priest to rescue her family and save her own life. For older readers.


Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Maya by Leonard Everett Fisher. (Holiday House, 1999)
A description of the 12 most important deities, with full-page paintings inspired by Mayan glyphs.

Hands of the Maya: Villagers at Work and Play by Rachel Crandell. (Holt, 2002)
Traditional Mayan life and culture are conveyed through photographs of people at work, making tortillas, carving stone, weaving, washing, etc.

A Maya by Frederico Navanete Linares. (Lerner, 1999)
Accompanied by detailed illustrations, the Mayan civilization is portrayed through historical text and a fictionalized account of a Mayan artisan's day

The Maya by Peter Chrisp. (Raintree, 1999)
Look into History series. An illustrated examination of the Mayan civilization.

The Maya by Charles George and Linda George. (Blackbirch Press, 2004)
A detailed overview of the history and culture of the Maya.

Mayeros: A Yucatec Maya Family by George Ancona. (Lothrop, 1997)
This photo documentary presents the life and customs of the descendants of the Maya now living in the Yucatan.

The Mystery of the Maya: Uncovering the Lost City of Palenque by Peter Lourie. (Boyds Mills, 2001)
This photo essay recounts details of the archaeological dig at a Mayan city and provides a history of the Maya.

Tikal by Elizabeth Mann. (Mikaya Press, 2002)
An illustrated guide to this important city, home to palaces, plazas and stone pyramids.

Web Sites

Lost King of the Maya
Based on the NOVA program, this site provides information about archeologists who are uncovering the history of Copán, a classic Mayan site in northern Honduras. Includes maps, lesson plans, teacher's guide, and a resource list. (Particularly good for kids.)

Mayan Art and Architecture
Developed by the International Photographic Archive of Maya Art, this site helps facilitate academic access to information about Maya daily life 1,000 years ago in Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, and Honduras. Includes links to other scholarly sites.

Mayan Numbers
This site from the National Indian Telecommunication Institute, explains the Mayan numbering system. (Particularly good for kids.)

Reading Maya Hieroglyphs
This site teaches students the Mayan numbering system. (Particularly good for kids.)