SEQUOYAH'S GIFT by Janet Klausner


A Portrait of the Cherokee Leader
Age Range: 9 - 14
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 As Duane King of the Smithsonian points out in the afterword here, ``Sequoyah is the only individual in five thousand years of recorded history known to have devised a complete writing system without first being literate in some language.'' In 1821, after years of opposition from his family, friends, and tribe, he completed his syllabary of 85 symbols and the Cherokee became the first literate Indian nation, publishing nearly 14 million pages (largely in translation) before 1861. Sequoyah also served under Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812, and later fought the injustice that cost his people their land and put them on the Trail of Tears. Though he wrote a great deal, apparently nothing survives and few facts are known about him. Drawing on secondary sources, Klausner uses generally accepted information about Cherokee life to create her portrait of a uniquely gifted man and honored and respected leader. Though she adds nothing new, this is useful and readable. ``Places to Visit''; lengthy ``Selected Sources'' but no list of other books for young people, of which there are several; map and 20 photos not seen; no index. (Biography. 9-14)

Pub Date: June 30th, 1993
ISBN: 0-06-021235-7
Page count: 114pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1993