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Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.
Native American Heritage and a dearth of children's books
This morning my son was asking me about a movie he saw ages ago called "Hook" (Sony, 1990). It's a Robin Williams film that involves an adult Peter Pan and Captain Hook.
As I was re-examining books on my shelf, I came across a stunning book with the same title but an all together different subject. Hook by Ed Young (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook) is about an abandoned egg that hatches into an eagle.
The chickens recognize this ugly little guy is meant for greater things, and so with the help of an Indian boy, is taken up to the top of a pueblo and gains his wings — and his rightful place in the natural order of things.
Stunning illustrations appear to be pastels and echo images of the West and a people that once lived there. But it's the soaring eagle that that stayed with me. The story is a little like an ugly duckling story, Western style.
And that reminded me the November is Native American Heritage Month — a time to celebrate a living people and their rich heritage. There are terrific resources on Reading Rockets and its sister site, Colorín Colorado as well as from the U.S. government.
But I'd like to see more books by Native people written and available — they are severely underrepresented in books for children and young adults — but I'm flummoxed as to how to encourage it.
Any ideas would be most appreciated.