A timely, must-read tale about overcoming divisions as a nation.

A PEACEMAKER FOR WARRING NATIONS

THE FOUNDING OF THE IROQUOIS LEAGUE

An account of the origins of American democracy via the Haudenosaunee League, also known as the Iroquois Confederacy.

This inspiring picture book for upper-elementary–age kids recounts the founding of the Haudenosaunee League, centuries before the United States became a nation, by a man known as the Peacemaker. In a time of violence and war, a child is conceived without a father and born to a single mother. His grandmother is baffled until one night a stranger appears by her bed to explain that the child has been sent as a prophet to heal nations. On one level, Bruchac’s (Nulhegan Abenaki) tale is a great introduction to archetypes, as the legendary Peacemaker is identifiable in many ways. He is challenged by nonbelievers and tested by feats of faith, and his followers must sacrifice to step onto the righteous path. Returning from death, he achieves what no man has done before, convincing the Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Oneida people to set their weapons down and work together. On another level, it fills a gap in U.S.–history education, revealing how Benjamin Franklin was inspired by the Haudenosaunee League’s representative form of government. With a group of headwomen as advisers and a long house to represent the peoples’ dependence on one another, the League’s council fire burns bright as a symbol of democratic unity. Fadden (Akwesasne Mohawk) contributes dramatic paintings that bring to life this moment in pre-colonial history. With a useful bibliography, as well as a preface and author’s note that speak to the contemporary inspiration for the book, this story should be on all shelves.

A timely, must-read tale about overcoming divisions as a nation. (Picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-937786-87-8

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Wisdom Tales

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.

OIL

In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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Involving from "the end of my lovely world" to the end of exile (when the Rudomins, as Jews, were jeered in Poland), this is...

THE ENDLESS STEPPE

GROWING UP IN SIBERIA

To Esther Rudomin at eleven Siberia meant the metaphor: isolation, criminals and cruel punishment, snow and wolves; but even in Siberia there is satisfaction from making a friend of a prickly classmate, from seeing a Deanna Durbin movie four times, from earning and studying and eventually belonging.

Especially in Siberia, where not wolves but hunger and dirt and cold are endemic, where shabbiness and overcrowding are taken for granted, where unselfishness is exceptional. At the heart of Mrs. Hautzig's memoir of four years as a Polish deportee in Russia during World War II is not only hardihood and adaptability but uniquely a girl like any other. Abruptly seized in their comfortable home in Vilna, Esther and her family, are shipped in cattle cars to Rubtsovsk in the Altai Territory, work as slave laborers in a gypsum mine until amnesty, then are "permitted" lobs and lodging in the village--if someone will take them in. After sleeping on the floor, a wooden platform is very welcome; after sharing a room with two other families, a separate dung hut seems a homestead. Then Esther goes to school, the greatest boon, and, to her mother's horror, wants to be like the Siberians....Deprivation does not make Esther grim: the saddest day of her life is her father's departure for a labor brigade at the front, her sharpest bitterness is for the bland viciousness of individuals.

Involving from "the end of my lovely world" to the end of exile (when the Rudomins, as Jews, were jeered in Poland), this is a beautiful book with no bar to wide acceptance (and a rich non-juvenile jacket by Nonny Hogrogian). (Memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 15, 1968

ISBN: 978-0-06-447027-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: T.Y. Crowell

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1968

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