Books by Nobel Prize Winner Gabriela Mistral
Get to know the impressive story of Gabriela Mistral, the Chilean Nobel laureate that changed education systems in Chile and Mexico while working as a diplomat all around the world.
She was also the first Latin American and fifth woman to ever win a Nobel Prize. That’s why her face is on the 5000 pesos bill in Chile.
Gabriela Mistral’s life was a sea of grief—she lost most of the people she cared about but kept pushing through.
We remember her fondly as a maternity figure, nurturing, caring, and looking forward to teaching with love. Today, she remains a true story about perseverance and inspiration. She crushed the glass ceiling over and over again and became an inspiration for Latin Americans and women worldwide.
Read ahead to find out Gabriela Mistral facts and the titles of this brilliant woman that have gotten to the core of thousands of readers.
¡Leamos los libros de Gabriela Mistral!
Let’s read Gabriela Mistral’s books!
Benefits of Reading Spanish Literature
For more than twenty years experts have considered literature as a powerful and motivational tool when it comes to teaching or learning a new language. When you select a book that is engaging and relevant for you, you become interested in the material making it natural for you to get into the habit of reading more for pleasure rather than for an assignment.
This will not only enrich your learning experience but also will lead you to learn about semantics, syntactics, idioms, expressions, sayings, and different writing styles. Colloquial terms, formal and informal forms of speech will become more apparent to you the more you read.
On the other hand, you will be able to contextualize words and phrases. When you can’t, the situation will promote that you engage in research and obtain a critical view and have opinions about the different pieces you read. Internalizing Spanish like this plays a fundamental role in eventually speaking like a native.
Gabriela Mistral Biography
Gabriela Mistral was the pseudonym of Lucila de María del Perpetuo Socorro Godoy Alcayaga, a professor, pedagogue, poetess, and diplomat. She was born in Chile into a modest family and worked as a public educator and became an important pedagogy thinker while participating in the Mexican educational system reform.
There is a museum with her name in the street where she was born, and a statue both in Chile and Mexico.
Gabriela was a consul in Sweden, Brazil, Italy, and the USA, and represented important organisms in America and Europe as well. She became one of the most relevant, and noticeable Latin American literary figures as a poet, winning a Nobel Prize for it in 1945.
Gabriela Mistral Books
1. Desolación – Desolation
Desolation is the first of Gabriela Mistral poems and books. Unlike many authors, she didn’t start slowly. Her debut was solid and launched her to international recognition and success.
Volodia Teitelboim, a Chilean lawyer, politician, and writer said that Desolation was the capital book of 20th-century Latin American poetry. According to many reviews, the title is perfect for this masterpiece, it evokes open wounds, heartbreaks, and grief. All of this over a religiousness that feels more like a sweet prayer rather than a stiff dogma.
The literary complexity of these Gabriela Mistral poems is moderate since she does not use many sophisticated words or long rummaged sentences. You should read this book if you want to laugh, cry, sigh, and be moved at the same time.
2. Ternura – Tenderness
Just so you get an idea of how humble Gabriela Mistral was, know that she was hesitant to publish her work Tenderness. Why? Because according to her, she has more than enough material in terms of quantity, in terms of quality, not so much.
The complete name of this piece is Tenderness: Songs for Children and many of the later poems by Gabriela Mistral start in the pages of this one. If you are into education and parenting, you will like this one.
Gabriela Mistral wrote because he was very unsatisfied with what school poetry had to offer. She strongly believed that kids should have been more exposed to raw human feelings.
In the pages of Tenderness, you will not only find letters meant to entertain and teach children through poetry but also draw attention of parents and educators referring to their responsibility in teaching, particularly with those living in abandonment.
Reviews show that it is full of positive feelings and moral, even religious teachings. Once again, her readers believe that the title is tailor-made. The level of complexity is higher than Desolation.
3. Tala – Felling
Tala is a more mature book by Gabriela Mistral. Unlike in her first two books, she does not explain the title. Here, she shows deep knowledge, interest, and worry towards the future of children victims of the sanguinary Spanish Civil War. She even gave the rights of this book to Spanish organizations that housed many of these kids.
Loss, death, and abandonment are some of the axes Gabriela Mistral chose for this book. She talks about her mother’s death, wishing for her resurrection, and even confronts God. She continues with exposing her feelings toward getting older and sickness but ends with some lullabies.
Some of Gabriela Mistral’s readers said that they became highly respectful of the Spanish language after reading this book. That somehow her proficiency and dominance turned her words into something aspiring. The level of complexity of this piece is difficult.
Lagar is the peak of Gabriela Mistral’s work according to critics, where she shows full knowledge and ownership of her identity as a writer. The theme of the book is transformation, life after death, and revival. Lagar is the place where workers step on the grapes, press the olives, and crush the apples to make something else.
In it, she talks about human consciousness, World Wars, hurtful doctrines, existential anguish, and death in a complex way.
5. Pensando a Chile – Thinking of Chile
Thinking of Chile is a book that Chileans consider a contribution to the country, and open debate about its situation. It is a useful guide and a shared history that invites the reader to question the future.
If you have already fallen in love with Latin America, this is the read for you. If you haven’t just yet, reading Gabriela Mistral books is a good way to start. The level of complexity of this one is moderate.
6. Locas Mujeres – Madwoman
This I found to be the most empowered book of Gabriela Mistral. It is about women that have had to deal with adversities alone, all by themselves, witnesses of destruction, wars, and demoralizing events. They became experts in tragedy and need to speak up urgently. This is a very intense piece that will leave you thinking. Quoting a review I found on the internet: “a dark lyrical beauty that encapsulates a devastating emotional clarity.”
Women here aren’t mad or crazy, just hurting, grieving, longing, victims of cruelty. The level of complexity is moderate to hard because it combines poetry and social illnesses that claim these females as collateral damage.
Read in Spanish To Learn Spanish!
Think of Gabriela Mistral as a door that opens to the Spanish language and the Hispanic culture. Seen from the eyes of a wronged artist with an out-of-this-world mind and determination. By reading her books you will not only be learning Spanish but also valuable experiences and life lessons.
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