Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Finding Books by Tribal Name

A reader asked if there is a resource that lists recommended books by tribal nation. I don't know of such a list, though I certainly understand that it would be tremendously useful to teachers and libraries looking for books specific to their geographic location.

Most of the resources I know of are comprehensive. That is, they include reviews of books they recommend, and books they do not recommend. They may list books in an index by tribe, but they do NOT recommend all the books they review. This is the case in A Broken Flute (edited by Seale and Slapin), Through Indian Eyes (edited by Slapin and Seale) and American Indian Themes in Young Adult Literature (by Paulette F. Molin). The Critical Biography at the Smithsonian groups books by region. Here's the link: (http://www.nmnh.si.edu/anthro/outreach/Indbibl/index.html)

These are all resources you can consult, but please remember!!! Being included does NOT mean the book is one that is being recommended. Same goes for books I mention in my blog posts. If you see a book title, make sure you know what I'm saying about it. (For example, in an earlier post, I mentioned Brother Eagle Sister Sky, but I do NOT recommend that book.)

Of course, any book listed on my "Recommended" list is there because I think it is of value and should be in every school and public library.

A word about the books sold by Oyate (http://www.oyate.org/catalog/index.html): They are very careful in selecting books they sell. That is why I list them as "best resource" for getting these books. AND, they have books that don't get attention from major review journals. Let me explain... Books published by the big publishers (Dial, Scholastic, Harper Collins) have BIG budgets. They send copies of their books to the major review journals. Small publishers can't afford to do that. In terms of Native-authored children's books, a good chunk of them are published by small publishers, and some are self-published. So, great Native lit is overlooked. It needs word-of-mouth attention. To grow this body of literature, all of YOU have to buy it, and you have to ask for more of it. You can do that by writing to publishers when they publish something you like (or when they publish something you don't like, too). A publisher's mailing address or website is usually printed inside the book.

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