GRANDCHILDREN OF THE LAKOTA

This entry in the World’s Children series opens by situating the Lakota within the federacy of the Seven Council Fires that lived in what is now the Dakotas; Rose explains the seven major Lakota subgroups and where they live today. The examination of a Lakota family expands the discussion to include aspects of historical and contemporary life, from religion to schooling, ceremonial herbs, mythology, wild foods, and the sense of place connecting the Lakota to the Badlands and the Black Hills. The post-contact history with the Europeans is handled without a lot of frills: Custer was no friend, treaties were broken time and again, English boarding schools were used to disrupt native cultural continuity, and, until a law enacted 20 years ago, Lakota religious practices were forbidden by the US government. Rose introduces such cultural practices as memorial giveaways, tribal councils and tribal law, sun dances and powwows, making them a living part of a greater tradition. A good selection of full-color photographs accompanies the text, with a wholesome emphasis on the children—“the future of the Lakota Nation, so it is important to treat children with respect and kindness”—that will compel readers through the pages. Rose’s story of the Lakota operates on a number of levels, and in its no-nonsense way is briskly successful. (map) (Picture book/nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 1998

ISBN: 1-57505-279-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1998

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Falters in its oversimplified portrayal of a complicated region and people.

GROUND ZERO

Parallel storylines take readers through the lives of two young people on Sept. 11 in 2001 and 2019.

In the contemporary timeline, Reshmina is an Afghan girl living in foothills near the Pakistan border that are a battleground between the Taliban and U.S. armed forces. She is keen to improve her English while her twin brother, Pasoon, is inspired by the Taliban and wants to avenge their older sister, killed by an American bomb on her wedding day. Reshmina helps a wounded American soldier, making her village a Taliban target. In 2001, Brandon Chavez is spending the day with his father, who works at the World Trade Center’s Windows on the World restaurant. Brandon is heading to the underground mall when a plane piloted by al-Qaida hits the tower, and his father is among those killed. The two storylines develop in parallel through alternating chapters. Gratz’s deeply moving writing paints vivid images of the loss and fear of those who lived through the trauma of 9/11. However, this nuance doesn’t extend to the Afghan characters; Reshmina and Pasoon feel one-dimensional. Descriptions of the Taliban’s Afghan victims and Reshmina's gentle father notwithstanding, references to all young men eventually joining the Taliban and Pasoon's zeal for their cause counteract this messaging. Explanations for the U.S. military invasion of Afghanistan in the author’s note and in characters’ conversations too simplistically present the U.S. presence.

Falters in its oversimplified portrayal of a complicated region and people. (author’s note) (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-24575-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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This unusual book offers a surprising amount of information, organized and presented in an appealing way for...

WHY WE LIVE WHERE WE LIVE

Why do people choose to live where they do in our world?

Vermond’s introduction to that big question points out that humans adapt: They use their big brains and work together to make places livable. A comfortable climate, readily available food and water, power for heat, light, transportation and communication, people who speak the same language, nearby families and plentiful jobs are just some of the things people are looking for. From the “Planet Perfect” to making your hometown one of “The Happiest Places on Earth,” the author considers human needs, briefly surveys the development of cities, explains what urban planners do, considers the reasons for living in a dangerous place as well as the reasons for moving, and touches on the effects of climate change and the possibility of living elsewhere in the universe. Each spread covers a separate topic. The extensive, conversational text is often set in columns and broken down into short segments, each with a heading, moving along quickly. A lively design and humorous illustrations add appeal. Unfortunately, there are no sources or suggestions for further reading.

This unusual book offers a surprising amount of information, organized and presented in an appealing way for upper-elementary students. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-77147-011-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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