Sunday, September 06, 2009

The end of Reading Rainbow

Due to low ratings and lack of funds, PBS's "Reading Rainbow" is no longer being broadcast.That's too bad. I have fond memories of watching the show with my daughter. They featured some terrific books, like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and, Everett Anderson's Goodbye. (Neither one is by a Native writer or features any Native content. They're just two books I like.)

Native-authored books (that I recommend) that were on the show include:

  • Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp
  • The Goat in the Rug, by Charles L. Blood, illustrated by Nancy Winslow Parker
In looking over the books they've featured over the years, I am puzzled that none of Joseph Bruchac's books are on the list.That was a tremendous oversight by the show's producers, and, a loss to its viewers who could have found some terrific books by him.

Among the Reading Rainbow books I do NOT recommend are:
  • Dancing with the Indians, by Angela Shelf Medearis, illustrated by Samuel Byrd - Depiction of a ribbon dance is wrong, playing drum with hands is wrong, Native dancers are just plain scary... 
  • Knots on a Counting Rope, by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Ted Rand. Among other problems, Rand depicts Native dancers watching a horse race in their traditional clothing, suggesting it is worn everyday. In reality, the men would be wearing jeans, shirts, and boots, just like the other spectators.  
  • Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back, by Penny Pollock. She (like "Jamake Highwater" did in Anpao) collapses the diversity within the hundreds of Native tribes into a single "Native American" portrayal. [9/11/2009 - This is an error. Pollock wrote a different book, titled When the Moon is Full. The error is on the Reading Rainbow site. The book they feature is by Joseph Bruchac. They incorrectly list Pollock as the author. My sincere apologies to Joseph Bruchac.]

There are a handful of others I could have listed here as 'not recommended' but those three jumped out at me. One of Paul Goble's books is on it, but that is not ok....   Looking over the list on their site, it just seems to me that their 'rainbow' did not have much space on it for Native authors.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm confused....Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back was written by Joseph Bruchac, Penny Pollock's book is called When the Moon is Full: A Lunar Year....