Children's Book Reviews

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Inspiration for World Brother and Sister Hood

  I loved this book even before I got to read it. Well, I love Native American stories, but also in this time of even more global unrest, wars, and killings of people, here's a tale that warms my heart for it is a glimpse that we can survive even the worst disasters and set-backs with the help of one another. If we each use our own unique gifts and abilities, there could be world peace and community. I trust you are having a wonderful summer.

The Great Friendship of Koyemsi and TuHavi is an impressive tale by author and illustrator Joan Mansson. It is based on an ancient Hopi folktale. The villagers, Koyemsi, who is blind, and TuHavi, who is crippled, all narrate the story of how fireballs dropped from the sky destroying and burning their village. The villagers run to safety, but then find that Koyemsi and TuHavi aren’t with them. How can these disabled men, also brave hunters, be saved? The story shows young readers that by using our own special skills, we can help one another.

            The illustrations alternate between black and white line drawings and cut paper collage, so simple and yet so stunning. They are reminiscent of petroglyphs found throughout Native American cultures. They are also a good model for showing children that art can be comfortable for them to view and to make. We are all artists. We just need to be encouraged, and illustrations such as these are great teachers.

The book is aimed more for middle grade readers (8-10), although younger children and children with reading challenges will love for it to be read aloud to them. It is also recommended for the special education or integrated special education classrooms. Based on the book, lesson plans can be devised to synthesize with Native American studies and social interaction studies. It would be wonderful to see the story play-acted by children. Go to Joan Mansson’s blog to copy the door hanger that can also be used as a bookmark!


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