November 22, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Turtle Island by Eldon Yellowhorn | SLJ Review

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redstarYELLOWHORN, Eldon. Turtle Island: The Story of North America’s First People. illus. by Kathy Lowinger. 116p. further reading. index. photos. Annick. Sept. 2017. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781554519446; pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781554519439.

Gr 4-7 –The multifaceted history of the Indigenous peoples of North American before and after European contact is made accessible in a well-written, fluid narrative complemented by appealing graphics. The author tells the history of Turtle Island with a rich blend of archaeology, oral tradition, prophesies, and so much more to discuss the evolution of the first peoples from Canada through Mexico. Engaged Engaged readers’ will often be prompted to consider their responses to scenarios, situations and settings beyond their daily experiences. The text provides a balanced retelling of tragic encounters that occur when cultures clash, war ensues, and the result is loss; it also does not shy away from discussions about destruction of Aztec codices, diseases that ravaged and destroyed Indigenous families, or assimilation policies that established boarding schools. Yet despite the devastation, the underlying theme is one of the resilience of Indigenous people. The book closes with mention of the Native America Apology Resolution signed by President Obama and Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission study of the impact of residential schools. Throughout the text are concise sidebars that discuss Indigenous sports, inventions, science, art, technology, literature, and notables past and present. ­VERDICT Highly recommended for middle to high school collections for its innovative, nonstereotypical, and engaging approach to the history of Indigenous peoples in North America.–Naomi Caldwell, Alabama State University, Montgomery

This review was published in the School Library Journal October 2017 issue.

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