The Hero Twins tells the story of two brothers born to Changing Woman and trained by the Holy People to save their people from the naayéé’, a race of monsters. But the naayéé’ can’t be beaten alone. Family and friends and wise mentors must lead any warrior down the good path toward victory. Colorful illustrations show the action as the twins seek out their father to receive the weapons they need to face the greatest monster of them all: Yé’iitsoh.
Told in Navajo, the Diné language, and English, this story exists in many versions, and all demonstrate the importance of thinking, patience, persistence, bravery, and reverence. These teachings still help the Diné—and everyone—find the harmony of a balanced and braver life.
Kristofic, author of the memoir Navajos Wear Nikes, and newcomer James recount a portion of the Navajo creation story, following the birth of the Hero Twins, their growth and training, and their efforts to locate their father (the Sun) for help in defeating the naay (monsters) that threaten their people. James's vivid pencils combine elements of geometric Navajo symbolism and iconography with a superheroic comic-book sensibility brought to both the brothers and the terrifying creatures they battle (an artist's note sheds light on James's vibrant use of color). While this is both a challenging and a streamlined recounting, the briefly described episodes of the brothers' exciting encounters with rocks, reeds, and dunes that threaten to crush, slice, and boil them, among many other perils, may prompt readers to seek out more information about the brothers' exploits. Ages 9 13.