SEQUOYAH by James Rumford
Kirkus Star


The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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This simply told tale imagines a parent addressing a child among the Giant Sequoias of California, moving in stately fashion from the trees to the Cherokee genius who invented a written language for his people. Simple, declarative sentences take on the cadences of legend as they outline the efforts of the man who, single-handedly and in the face of jeers and sometimes violent opposition, created a Cherokee syllabary. Rumford takes pains to emphasize that written Cherokee is not dead, despite references to the hardships of the Cherokee; as testament, the English text is accompanied by a Cherokee translation, done in the same typeface Sequoyah helped to develop. The bright, textured illustrations take on the look of heavily outlined block prints, giving the whole the feeling of an old-fashioned children’s history. The tall, slender proportions of the trim echo the sequoias that frame the story—a pleasingly appropriate design detail. An author’s note details the difficulties of parsing fact from the legends that have grown up around Sequoyah, and includes suggestions for further reading. The Sequoyah syllabary and a timeline round out the package. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-618-36947-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2004


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