Friday, February 24, 2017

Source notes in NORTHWOODS CRADLE SONG by Douglas Wood

On Feb 8, 2017, I was in Milwaukee at the Wisconsin State Reading Association's annual conference. I gave a session about sovereignty and why it is important that teachers include it in their instruction. I also talked about award-winning books that do not provide teachers with information about the source of their stories. 

During the discussion portion of my presentation, Michelle Chevalier commented about a book she'd come across years ago and its lack of reference to an original source. Michelle is a member of the Menominee Nation. 

We did not talk about the accuracy or quality of the book. Our discussion then, and here, is specific to crediting of sources. I invited Michelle to write about the source discussion. I am grateful to her for sharing this with AICL's readers. (Note to writers and editors: have you seen Betsy Hearne's two articles, Cite the Source and Respect the Source?)

Michelle Chevalier on Source Notes in Northwoods Cradle Song

I first came across Northwoods Cradle Song: From A Menominee Lullaby in the late 1990's as a teacher searching for children's books containing Native Images and Stories.  I don't recall any author's notes with regard to crediting original sources for the story.  The author is Douglas Wood. He is not Native.

This week, I found a hardcover copy of the book on the shelf at our local middle school.  To my delight, this copy has a page with an "Author's Note" that does give ample credit to the source that I mentioned in Debbie Reese's presentation at WSRA. In the note, Wood gave credit to Phebe Jewell Nichols, as well as another source, Sigurd F. Olsen.  I am not sure when these credits were included, but am glad that they are now given. 

I stand by my comment that I believe all authors should give proper credit to their sources, especially with regard to Native stories. The cover and spine of this book do not include Nichols or Olson. The only author on the cover is Wood. At the very least, I would hope that an author would write "Retold By...." instead of implying that it is their story.

1 comment:

Roger Sutton said...

Hi Deb--I don't remember this book but the Horn Book Magazine review (May/June 1996) seems to imply that the sources were included all along: "Douglas Wood originally adapted the piece from early sources for singing...." I wonder if Chevalier is conflating it with another book, maybe NORTHERN LULLABY by Nancy Carlstrom and the Dillons (1992)?