Like many oral folktales, the stories meander, but here the craft is also in perfect synchrony with its content: “Good...

WALKING IS A WAY OF KNOWING

IN A KADAR FOREST

A lyrical, dreamy picture storybook of five interlocking outings among the Kadar adivasi (indigenous) community in the Anamalai hills in southern India.

The Kadar tribes were historically nomadic hunter-gatherers, but 40 years ago, according to the authors’ note, they were “forced to live in small permanent settlements at the edges of [the] forests”; today, they act as guides to tourists and traders who want to traverse their lands. Researchers Ramesh and Chandi spent hours with tribal elders, and the result is this magical collection, exquisitely illustrated by Frame. The stories are mostly narrated by Madiyappan, a Kadar elder, as well as his uncle, Krishnan, and his cousin Padma. They guide the narrator, presumably an urban visitor, through a dramatic and philosophical forest walk: “Paths have character: there are easy ones, challenging ones, unforgiving ones, one that encourage you to walk with a steady swinging rhythm and other that tease your stride with odd twists and turns,” Madiyappan says. The book introduces the hills’ and forests’ flora and fauna—bison, monkeys, hornbills—and uses Indigenous words unapologetically, although many can be deciphered in context or found in the book’s short glossary.

Like many oral folktales, the stories meander, but here the craft is also in perfect synchrony with its content: “Good forest people are curious,” says Padma. “We constantly explore.” (Folktales. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-93-83145-60-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Tara Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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Overall, the book offers an appealing introduction to the diverse nations and remarkable resilience of the original...

TURTLE ISLAND

THE STORY OF NORTH AMERICA'S FIRST PEOPLE

A comprehensive overview of the Indigenous populations of North America from 100,000 years ago until the present in just over 100 pages is an ambitious undertaking.

Happily, this one is surprisingly successful. A collaboration between Yellowhorn, a Piikani professor of First Nations Studies, and Lowinger, a white children’s author, the text engages readers through a variety of means: stories from different nations, straightforward scientific and historical information, and sections labeled “imagine,” portraying slices of life in various times and places. From captivating origin tales to mind-boggling advances in archaeological technology, there is a little something here for everyone, with stock images that complement the text. It is a pity that the final chapter on modern times was not fleshed out more, leaving out much Native political and environmental activism from the 1960s to the present day as well as continuing struggles over demeaning sports team names and mascots. The list of notable people skews heavily toward men (where are Maria Tallchief and Louise Erdrich?). Oddly, this chapter also consistently refers to Indigenous people as “they” rather than “we,” depriving young Native readers of a more intimate reading experience.

Overall, the book offers an appealing introduction to the diverse nations and remarkable resilience of the original inhabitants of this continent and is likely to inspire respect, pride, and a desire to learn more. (maps, sources, further reading, index not seen) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55451-944-6

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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The genesis of world-rocking inventions is often mysterious; their fate upon people not so much, here given a tantalizing if...

THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

From the Campfire History series

Helfand brings a propulsive optimism to this graphic account of the Industrial Revolution.

Meet Johann Gutenberg, thinking, thinking, thinking big. “What if instead of copying text one word at a time… / …there was a way to reproduce entire pages?” Scribes took five years to copy the Bible. Helfand doesn’t mention the beauty of their work, but Gutenberg’s invention was revolutionary: more people received more news and knowledge. Readers follow Kumar’s clean panels as James Watt makes his entrance, then Eli Whitney, John Kay, Robert Fulton, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford. Helfand is mostly interested in the mechanical wizardry and tenacity of these inventers, which is slippery to capture: “About four times as much steel could be produced with Bessemer’s technique.” Helfand digs the book’s grave by half-heartedly tackling the social consequences. Readers learn that “countless skilled weavers suddenly found themselves out of work,” which is shrugged off: “But the inventions that cost the weavers their jobs were few and far between.” Except “as large landowners snatched up more and more farmland, small farmers found themselves out of work and eager for factory jobs.” Except: “Men and women were operating like clockwork; as efficiently as the machines that dominated the industrial age. The only problem was… / Ford’s employees hated it.”

The genesis of world-rocking inventions is often mysterious; their fate upon people not so much, here given a tantalizing if garbled peek, then left unexplored. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-93-81182-28-4

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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