10 Best Books about Belize

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Beka Lamb by Zee Edgell

Beka Lamb is the first published novel of Belize-born and raised writer Zee Edgell. It was originally published in 1982 which was right after the country became independent. The novel has won Britain’s Fawcett’s Society Book Prize in the same year and it is also the first novel from Belize as a new nation to ever gain international recognition.

The novel talks about the political situation and poverty of Belize and the life of an adolescent girl Beka. Growth is accompanied by pain and struggles, and both the country and Beka are in a complicated transition to maturity and development. There were a couple of problems and interesting twists, but the awakening started when Beka’s best friend gets pregnant, gets expelled and dies due to her pregnancy. The aftermath of her best friend’s death, the struggles and all the lies Beka said, led to her outpouring emotion and dedication besting out an essay contest at their school that will change her life. It is an inspirational journey and you are sure to like the adventure of Beka and Belize in this book.

>>See Beka Lamb on Amazon<<

The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s Fight to Save the World’s Most Beautiful Bird by Bruce Barcott

Bruce Barcott is a Guggenheim Fellow Awardee who is also an American editor and environment journalist. This book was first published in 2009 and the inspiration behind the novel is Sarah Matola, a zoo-lady who happens to be the main protagonist of the story too, who was consigned to take care of animals in a movie and was left on how to dispose them after the film was shot. To her despair, knowing that the animals were too domesticated to be returned to the wild, she sought to build a zoo to serve as their habitat. She is now the founder of the Belize Zoo.

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Bruce tells the story of how Sarah faces the government and political power structures in Belize. The book is an eye-opener to readers and what destruction was caused about by the dam project, where its location was also home to the Scarlet Macaws. The struggle brought about by a zoo-lady’s belief and hope for the animals which is truly heartbreaking and at the same time inspiring is evident in the pages. One can say that it is a truly emotional novel if you love nature.

>>See The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s Fight to Save the World’s Most Beautiful Bird on Amazon<<

A Natural History of Belize: Inside the Maya Forest by Samuel Bridgewater

Samuel Bridgewater is not just a writer, but also a botanist, ecologist and researcher. He has worked as an Associate Researcher at the Natural History Museum of London and became the Research Station Manager at Las Cuevas in Belize. He also first published the book A Natural History of Belize in 2012.

Belize is known for its wildlife and rich rainforests and if you are ever curious about the diversity and interaction of species in the Maya Forest specifically in the Chiquibul Forest, this will be a good read. The book is a compilation of scientific debates, studies and research, narrated in an interesting manner. You will also understand more about how it has withstood several natural and man-related causes and disasters to what it is today. It also shows illustrations of different animal habitats and how rich the biological kingdom of Belize is.

Because of its rich illustrations, younger readers can also enjoy this as they find out more about the species and the complex web of the Chiquibul Forest. It is also perfect as a coffee table book filled with treasures of information about Belize’s flora and fauna. You can check the link below as it is much lower to purchase it on Amazon than other websites.

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>>See A Natural History of Belize: Inside the Maya Forest on Amazon<<

The Ultimate Belize Bucket List: 101 Insider Tips on What to See and Do by Larry Waight

This book, first published in December 2018, is Larry Waight’s best-selling book and he is also the founder of a website dedicated to tourism in Belize. Being a former member of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, he surely knows a lot about the beautiful country and his book the The Ultimate Belize Bucket List is something you shouldn’t miss if you plan on visiting the beautiful country.

This is probably the best guide you can get to slowly tick down your Belize things to do. The boom of its tourism is gaining worldwide attention and you are surely going to find out why, as you read along. Larry writes down the best places, activities, insider tips and secrets that will help you make the best out of your vacation. It is also a rich resource of information about the country coming from a local’s perspective so you can experience only the best and try to live like a local.

There are also contents that can help you know more about the culture and the people so you can easily adapt with the vibe of Belize. You probably wouldn’t need a tour guide after reading this book or better yet, bring it with you to Belize!

>>See The Ultimate Belize Bucket List: 101 Insider Tips on What to See and Do on Amazon<<

Belize: A Novel by Carlos Ledson Miller

California born writer Carlos Ledson Miller is a fiction writer who was also a pool player. He had struggles finding publishers for his books and a series of misses until he decided to self-publish his books. His persistence really paid off. To finish this book, he even took the time to explore and research the country itself. It was also first published in 2000.

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This is a series of flashbacks from 40 years ago about two brothers and the British Honduras to today’s present Belize. It all starts with Ramon Kelley being a manager of the last company to log mahogany in the forest of Belize until he decided to abandon the job. He has two sons and both with different identities and cultural backgrounds.

You will also hear a lot about Creolean sayings that are good enough to quote. From the characters down to the history of Belize presented in the story, you will surely enjoy reading this novel. It is also a very easy way to enjoy the historical developments as it coincides with the story of the father and his two sons.

>>See Belize: A Novel on Amazon<<

Becoming Creole: Nature and Race in Belize by Melissa A. Johnson

The author, Melissa A. Johnson, is an anthropology professor at Southwestern University in Georgetown.  Her book, Becoming Creole, was published in November of 2018. This historical fiction will take you on an evolutionary journey about racialization. She also cleverly separates two things (theoretical and material) in the book as to how readers can differentiate her book with other scholarly books.

Johnson tackles on how one becomes a full-fledged creole and takes everyone to how these people live, giving a better insight about them unknown to many. It shows the interactions they have with nature and how the forest creates a sustainable environment for them. She made it easier to show how these connections are intertwined with each other to form a vast web of relationships that shape up their culture, economics and politics.

She also talks about their way of life and how they are approaching the modernization of the new world. Beyond the blue seas, lush jungles and tourism that is known in Belize, the importance of Creole families and how they, as a single unit, build the entirety of the country were also discussed.

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>>See Becoming Creole: Nature and Race in Belize on Amazon<<

Sastun: My Apprenticeship with a Maya Healer by Rosita Arvigo and Nadine Epstein

Rosita is a doctor of Naprapathy and she also practices natural healing in Belize. She is also a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan. The book talks about Arvigo’s journeys and as she gets an apprenticeship with Don Elijio Panti. You can also add a lot of medical knowledge about how diverse the flora of the rich country is. This helps connect the two worlds to help shape up the future of Western medicine. The book was also first published in February 3, 1995.

If you are someone who is curious about the origin of herbal remedies in Belize, then this book is perfect for you. It takes on the story of a biologist who went to Belize in search of herbal plants in the rainforest. By chance, she meets a traditional healer and together they studied the local herbal medicines. It is a book filled with the rich Belizean botanical heritage passed down from generation to generation amidst the suffering world (as described in the book) that we know now. After reading the book, you might just change your perspective about traditional healers.

>>See Sastun: My Apprenticeship with a Maya Healer on Amazon<<

The Festival of San Joaquin by Zee Edgell

This is another must read from the internationally acclaimed Belizean writer, Zelma AKA Zee Edgell. She is a historian and at the same an activist and this passion has helped her to write books that perfectly harmonizes fiction and history. One of her books, The Festival of San Joaquin was first published in January 2, 2009.

From the title, you can tell that the novel took place during the festival of San Joaquin. The story is about Marina who accidentally killed her husband in self-defense. She went to prison because of this, and after her release, she wanted to obtain custody of her children. But there’s something people don’t know; her husband was cruel and she is also a victim of domestic violence. He would always abuse and lock her and her children and left them to starve.

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Her journey then continues but her mother-in-law always goes right in the picture to stop her just like in the typical Spanish or Mexican telenovelas. She keeps perseveres and tries to outwit the power of her former mother-in-law’s connections. Find out more about how she puts her life back together after prison.

>>See The Festival of San Joaquin on Amazon<<

Jaguar: One Man’s Struggle To Establish The World’s First Jaguar Preserve by Alan Rabinowitz

Dr. Rabinowitz is a zoologist and also the President and CEO of Panthera Corporation. Growing up with pets, he later grew on his passion for animals and found comfort in them. He also went to Belize to study the jaguars in their natural habitat, which later on inspired this book that was published in 1986 (the latest version is published in February 2000). The creation of the book took 2 years of hard work to finish; just imagine his dedication and near-death experiences just to give us a great book to read.

If you have a passion for wildlife while metaphorically exploring jaguars in the beautiful jungle of Belize, there’s no doubt you will enjoy this book. It also focuses on the efforts created to help preserve the Jaguar in its natural habitat. Due to its elusiveness, it was quite difficult and the book painstakingly took a lot of effort to be completed by Rabinowitz. What’s so good while reading it, is that you will almost feel as if you are in the jungle with a little bit of suspense as you don’t know what happens next. This is also one of the first-hand encounters written in a book about wild jaguars!

>>See Jaguar: One Man’s Struggle To Establish The World’s First Jaguar Preserve on Amazon<<

Our Man in Belize: A Memoir by Richard Timothy Conroy

Conroy used to make H bombs and he also joined the US Foreign Services. Upon retirement, he dedicated himself to the piano, and of course writing and one of his masterpieces created is Our Man in Belize which was published in November 1, 1997. You are really going to find out why he is the “Man” in this book.

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Someone who is not happy with their job and wanted something new can easily relate to this book. We can call it a memoir and it actually talks about the experience of Conroy and how he came to be in Belize. He talks about his struggles about cross-cultural relationships and his adventure. It all starts after a mishap he has done with his initial job, then he also reminisced how the huge hurricane killed hundreds of people in Belize.

Basically, this book is a walk down memory lane of him working for Foreign Services and you will definitely enjoy that he likes to make the story light by adding some goofy insights about the inefficiencies of the government during that time.

>>See Our Man in Belize: A Memoir on Amazon<<

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