Monday, August 21, 2006

INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD series by Lynne Reid Banks

The software that monitors traffic on my site includes a list of words and phrases people use that bring them to American Indians in Children's Literature. (Note: the software doesn’t provide names, email addresses or any information that can be traced back to you.) One that pops up often is “Indian in the Cupboard” and “lesson plan.”

Due to the many problems with that book, I do not recommend Indian in the Cupboard or any of the sequels. Here are some on-line reviews and an article about the book:

“A Demand for Excellence in Books for Children” by Jan LaBonty, published in the Journal of American Indian Education
http://jaie.asu.edu/v34/V34S2dem.htm

And here’s another article, not available on-line. If you don't have access to it through a library, send me an email (dreese dot nambe at gmail dot com) and I'll send you a copy:

Tyler, Rhonda Harris (Jul/Aug 2000) Indian in the Cupboard: A Case Study in Perspective International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (QSE), Vol. 13, Issue 4

If any readers know of other reviews/discussions of this book, let us know. I have some notes on the first chapter, and, a link to an outstanding article about toy Indians here: Indian in the Cupboard, chapter one

1 comment:

Chantilly Patiño said...

Honestly, I think this book is popular for the same reason that "The Help" has been popular. It let's people believe that their kindness is all that it takes to overcome adversities like racism. It also removes white guilt and allows us to believe that we are not associated with this problem, which is in fact systematic and doesn't offer and "opt-out" in reality.

I remember having to read this in school when I was young and although I thought the idea of bringing my toys to life was great, this book never felt quite right. I always wondered why this young boy was given so much power and why the story was framed in the way that it was.

But for our teachers (we were attending a wealthy white district at the time) it was seen as a lesson in history and culture. Teachers were very impressed that hunting, tepee building and all of these other elements were discussed.

I think sometimes we can allow ourselves to be a bit misguided because to an outsider, many things can seem like an insider's perspective and this book definitely falls into that category. I think most people are unaware that books like this are even debated.

Thanks for sharing the links. :)