January 15, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

A Middle Grade Sci-Fi Anthology and More | January 2018 Xpress Reviews

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Demos, John. Puritan Girl, Mohawk Girl. 160p. Abrams/Amulet. Oct. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781419726040.

Gr 5-8 –This “Indian captivity” novel is a fictionalized version of the experiences of a Puritan girl who was captured by Mohawk warriors at the age of seven. Eunice and her family settled in Deerfield, MA, just prior to the French and Indian War. Mohawks and settlers were killed, and among the dead were Eunice’s mother and newborn sister. Eunice and her family are captured and separated from each other, and she is brought to a Mohawk village in Canada under French rule and influenced by Catholic missions. Her father, a prominent minister, escapes and negotiates the release of her two brothers, but Eunice’s new family refuses to let her go. She ultimately decides to remain with the Mohawk family. The story follows her life among the Mohawk and describes various cultural beliefs and customs, the conflict between the Puritan and Catholic beliefs, and the prejudiced views both groups held about the Mohawk. What makes the story of Eunice, who later was given the name Gannenstenhai (She Brings in Corn), compelling is the portrayal of her transition from a white, colonialist culture to the Mohawk way of life. VERDICT Though far from a perfect representation of Mohawk history and culture, this novel nevertheless offers young readers a window into the conflicting cultural privileges and prejudices at play during this period of time. A historical novel best used in conjunction with supplemental texts and nonfiction about the relationship between colonists and Native peoples of the Americas.–Naomi Caldwell, Alabama State University, Montgomery

Weaver, Sean & Corie Weaver, eds. The 2018 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide. 318p. Dreaming Robot. Dec. 2017. pap. $17.95. ISBN 9781940924250.

Gr 4-8Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide is an apt title for this collection of kid-friendly stories told in an out-of-the-box, Ray Bradburyish adventure style. A collection of authors with varied backgrounds bring their unique storytelling spin to a page-turning anthology. The cast of likeable characters are diverse, engaging, and relatable to today’s generation. STEM topics, deftly integrated through character relationships and discovery, cover a wide range of thought-provoking ideas to keep young scientists pondering. VERDICT Great fun with strong curricular ties. Highly recommended for young and old lovers of science and storytelling.–Robyn Gioia, Seoul American Elementary School, Korea

This article was published in School Library Journal's January 2018 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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