Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Leveled Readers featuring First Nations families

Just got this review (below) from Beverly Slapin... Lest you think these are only suitable for Native children, think again! Non-Native children learning to read by reading about Native families! I think that's terrific.

Best practice for young children is the here-and-now of their lives. That concept, however, seems to vanish when it comes to teaching anything about First Nations or American Indians. Instead of the here-and-now, kids in too many classrooms have the long-ago-and-far-away view of Native peoples.

These readers push us all to teach children that indigenous peoples are still here.


[This review is by Beverly Slapin of Oyate and may not be published elsewhere without her written permission.]

Adams, Lorraine, and Lynn Bruvold, Eaglecrest Books: Leveled Readers. 2003, color photos.

Here are Louis and Annette, helping their rabbit prepare for her new bunnies. [Images from A Bunny to Love (Level 16)]

Here are Natalee and Josh, going on a dog sled ride. [Images from The Dog Sled Ride, (Level 16)]

Here is Kelley, teaching Martina how to dance and giving her the powwow regalia she has outgrown. [Images from The Powwow (Level 16)]

Here are Martien and his dad, going spearfishing. Here is Grandma, making new slippers for Danielle and Tahya. Here are Tiara and Kayla, going all the way to the store to get milk—without getting tired. Here is Hayley, figuring out why her cat, Bonkers, always seems hungry. Here are Alysha and Taneesha, fixing a flat bicycle tire. Here are real Indian children, belonging to real families and real communities, going about their lives. No made-up “myths and legends,” no self-conscious drama, no ethnographic expositions—just well-written, respectful little stories, supported by beautiful photographs that everyone will enjoy. This outstanding beginning-reader series will encourage empathy and discussion, and will motivate young listeners to read as well.

Set of 50 leveled readers, pb 325.00, available from Eaglecrest and  Oyate.


Anonymous said...

I bought quite a few of the Eaglecrest leveled books at an early childhood educators conference a couple of years ago. I love them. One thing that readers in the Lower 48 may notice is that the child protagonists have a lot of freedom to roam, to climb trees, to go fishing on open water with an older cousin.... I think my sons would have enjoyed these books when they were first learning to read. There's a spirit of adventure that is not squelched by didacticism.

The Bear Maiden said...

These sound SO cool. My kid goes to a school in East Harlem and in the summer we go to the Pow wows in our area. Also in his school there is a boy who's mother hails from the Yukon, I believe she is Tlingit. It would be SO EXCITING for these boys... and their friends, to have books like these in their classrooms. I forwarded a link to your blog and this info to the school librarian, and the principal.

Lynnie said...

These are EXCELLENT books. The characters are very real and quite engaging. Children from any background can relate to their situations. My daughter's favorite, Dean's Fish, is about a little boy who helps catch and prepare a fish. As a teacher, I can see that they are "leveled" (meaning each set gets progressively harder for the beginning reader), making them great choices for Preschool through Second Grade. My older daughter can "read" the Level Ones by memory and is quite proud. As an Oneida Indian with a pretty culturally-mixed family, I appreciate this representation of real Indian life that includes many shades of skin color. I also notice there is a mixed race family in "Crabs for Dinner" Many of the stories include grandparents, and characters are of all different body types. Eaglecrest really did a great job with these books! I really couldn't ask for anything more, except that they make more of them.