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[This review is by Beverly Slapin of Oyate and may not be published elsewhere without her written permission.]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