Carmen Lyra

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Today is International Women’s day. We believe that one of the keys for development. In all the corners of the world is the empowerment of women. And so today. Paradise Products Costa Rica wishes to dedicates this entry to all the brave women that have started a company or a entrepreneurship in Costa Rica. And specially those who had trust us and work with us. And so today we have the pleasure to write about Carmen Lyra.


Carmen Lyra

María Isabel Carvajal Quesada better known and dearly remember as Carmen Lyra. Teacher, politician, and writer. Carmen Lyra Was born the 15th of January 1887 in Barrio Amón, San José. And studied her elementary school in the Julia Lang school, known today as  or Escuela Metálica. And proceed her highschool in the Colegio de Señoritas from which in 1904 graduated as a teacher. Carmen Lyra worked 2 years with the Sisters of Charity as a novice, but couldn’t become a nun.

Unable to full fill her religious desires.  She focused her interests in the work with children as a teacher. Putting special attention in literature. Producing columns for several news papers and co-founding in 1912 with Lilia González the magazine “San Serin” a magazine for children. In 1919 both women were to prove instrumental in a strike of teachers and professors against the politics of Federico Tinoco. During the manifestation Carmen Lyra produced a speech that excited the multitude. And ended up marching and burning the editorial building of the newspaper “La Información” own by the goverment.

In 1920 Carmen Lyra published “Los cuentos de mi tía Panchita” [Tales of my aunt Panchita]. And earns a scholarship to study in Europe. Granted by then President Julio Acosto Garcia. Carmen Lyra specialises in Pre-School teachings in the Sorbonne University. Also travelling to Italy and discovering the Montessori system. Upon returning to Costa Rica 1921 becomes Cathedratich of Infant Literature of La Escuela Normal now Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica. Fouding years later the first Montessorian Pre-school of Costa Rica attending children from low income families. Working as director of it for several years.

During this years and until the civil war of 1948. Carmen Lyra was a vocal against the nationalism and the divisions that started to arise between Costa Rica and the other Centro American states. In 1931 Lyra entered the Communist Party action that signify her removal from the Montessorian School she founded. Her activism never sess and her opinions prove powerful in mobilising people and the public opinion. Been regarded as an intelectual for both followers and expositors. Lyra went to participated indirectly in the Civil War of 1948. Act that cost her the exile in Mexico that same year at the age of 61 years.

María Isabel Carvajal Quesada or Carmen Lyra died in Mexico the 14th of May of 1949 at age 62. Lyra and her relatives and friends pledge for her to die in Costa Rica. Pledge denied by the new government in place.

Se que voy a morir, pero quiero estar por última vez en mi tierra, no quiero morir lejos de ella. Cuando no estoy en mi país me siento como una mata trasplantada, de esas matas que ya sus raíces no pueden adaptarse a nuevas tierras” Carmen Lyra

I know that I am going to die. But I want to be one last time in my land. I do not want to die far from her. When I am not in my country. I feel like a transplanted plant. One of those plants of which roots can no loger adapt to a new soil.” Carmen Lyra

The 20th of May 1949 her remains arrive to Costa Rica. Then buried in the Cementerio General where she rests until today.

The 28th of July of 1976 the Legislative declare Carmen Lyra Cultural Meritorious of Costa Rica. And the 26th of April 2016 Lyra was declared Meritorious of Costa Rica. And since 2010 her face appears in all the 20.000 colones bills of the Republic of Costa Rica.

Los Cuentos de mi Tía Panchita

Carmen Lyra is the author of “Cuentos de mi tía Panchita” [Tales of my aunt Panchita]. One of the most identifiable works of Costa Rica literature. “Cuentos de mi tía Panchita” is a compilation of several short stories for kids. With characteristics similar to the stories of the Grimm brothers or Hans Christian Andersen. Enhancing the figure of the trickster and with a powerful charge of magic, serendipity and divine attributes in each story.

The language use is old Costa Rican slang. Although still some of these words and sayings are still very present in the tico every day vocabulary. The stories of Carmen Lyra focus in the bucolic Costa Rica the ingenus of the rural men and women. When thinking of Carmen Lyra and her magnificent recollection of stories. Her activism and life most ticos have a sweet and dear memory. For those of us who have read their stories. We treasure them and admire here.

To her and to all the brave women of Costa Rica and the world. We wish to thank and salute them.



Uvieta sube a la muerte al palo de uvas Art belongs to




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