Ghost Hands

Ghost Hands

In the land of Patagonia, Argentina, a boy becomes a man by proving he is strong enough and brave enough to face the puma. Young Auki yearns to show his father he is worthy but his father says not yet. So in the year that he stands "as straight as a spear," Auki slips away secretly to find the puma and face it down. Through the grasslands and the canyons Auki climbs seeking the perfect place to wait and watch. What he is about to discover will startle, frighten and then stretch the world beyond its recognizable boundaries as T.A.Barron leads us into the Cave of Hands...a mysterious place, infused with ghosts and colorful waving hands.

Ghost hands. Can you feel them? Can you see them? What are they trying to tell you? Beware the puma, young Auki. On the walls of this magical cave, there are thousands of painted hands and just one foot and that foot is the spark that leads us through an adventure of courage and offers us the opportunity to stop and honor the lives and souls of the thousands of people who walked through these same canyons armed with their hopes, their dreams and their bravery.

This is the perfect book to take our children beyond their known walls and this is the perfect book to teach our children their connections to all who inhabit our world and the generations who came before them. Best of all, this is the perfect book to awaken our children's dreams, imagination and most of all, the courage they will need on their own journey.

40 pages 978-0399250835 Ages 6-11

Recommended by: Barb Langridge,


The book begins with an invitational note from the author explaining the Cave of Hands in Argentina that was created by the Tehuelche tribe.  Unfortunately there are no living members to explain the reasons for the handprints.  In this folk tale a young boy wants to be a tribal hunter and to prove himself he plans to hunt the feared puma.  He has an encounter with the feared puma.  To escape the puma the young boy falls further into the canyon and finds the sacred cave of handprints housing an old man.  The old man is the painter of the handprints inside the sacred cave.  When the puma attacks the old man, the young boy defends him.  The old man repays the kindness by taking the boy back to his home in the cave.

The young boy returns for a visit and the old man explains why he is painting handprints in the cave.  In a tribute to saving the old man's life, he paints a print of the young boy's foot - the only footprint on the sacred cave's walls.  The young boy's knowledge of the sacred cave's story has passed down for generations.

Recommended by Christy Pierce, Librarian, Maryland USA

********* When T. A. Barron visited the Patagonian Cave of Hands and saw a footprint inside the cave, he knew there was a story there. And so he created the story of Auki, a young boy who knows he's ready to be a hunter, even though his father says he's not old enough. When Auki defies his father and sneaks out at dawn with spear in hand, he discovers something unexpected-a place he never knew existed. A place that teaches him more about his people-and himself- than a hunt ever could. This is a powerful story of courage, transformation, and imagined history.--from the publisher

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