Sunday, September 24, 2017

Not Recommended: I AM SACAGAWEA by Brad Meltzer

Today, AICL is launching a new feature. I'm calling it Reviewed On Twitter and it will have its own label. Sometimes, I tweet that I got a book. If I have something more to say as I look it over, I send a second tweet, and a third, and so on. I end up with something akin to a review, except that it is in a series of tweets. Too often, I never get a review written and posted. That means that anyone who reads AICL but doesn't follow me on Twitter, doesn't see what I said about the book. I don't know if this new feature is going to work out or not, but, we'll see.


This morning (Sep 24, 2017), I started reading Brad Meltzer's I Am Sacagawea and sharing my thoughts, on Twitter, as I read. I am pasting the text of those tweets, here.

1. Another of my "WHY?" threads. This one is about a new picture book about Sacagawea.
4. I'm looking at resources about Sacagawea. Wonder if Meltzer knows she's controversial?

5. When I start reading I AM SACAGAWEA, will I find anything about that controversial POV in Meltzer's book?

6. In the back of the bk, the author and illustrator thank Carolyn Gilman. She wrote a book called Lewis and Clark: Across the Divide.

7. Gilman's book is available online: I'll look at that, but the bk I am going to rely on is...

8. ... not that one! ANYTIME I see anything abt Lewis and Clark, I remember a mtg I was in with Native historians, several years ago.

9. It was in the years preceding all the big rah-rah events to mark the "200th anniversary" of the expedition. Some planners wanted...

10. ... ppl of the tribal nations along the expedition to participate in re-enactments. Paraphrasing the response; it was something like...

11. 'Why would we wanna do THAT?!' -- In other words, 'no, we will not perform in your story.'

12. Some quick thoughts, now, on Meltzer's I AM SACAJAWEA. First page: "I am Sacagawea." Oh-oh. Did she, in fact, say those words?

13. Does Meltzer have evidence that she said "I am Sacagawea." in the files he put together to do this book? Or... did he make that up?

14. Next page... another 'oh-oh' from me. "What do people expect of you?" she says. I am pretty sure she didn't say that. What we've got...

15. ... is a white guy creating the speech of a Native woman who lived over 200 years ago. He's leaping over differences in...

16. ... identity and language and time and culture. What could go wrong?

17. Next lines are about what people expect of you (reader) and what people expected, in that time, of Sacagawea.

18. Meltzer's Sacagawea has an answer: "In fact, they didn't expect much at all." You should be wondering WHO didn't expect much of her.

19. Meltzer's question, in short, centers Whiteness. He doesn't name it. What he means is that WHITE people didn't expect much of her.

20. Yeah... what can go wrong with Invented Dialog that leaps across time, language, identity... easy to see, so far, right?

21. Oh, Penguin... do we need another messed up book about Sacagawea? WorldCat says there's 268 books (for kids) about her. Yours makes 269.

22. Meltzer's I AM SACAGAWEA is doing exactly what ROUGHING IT IN THE BUSH did: telling (white) rds that racism is a thing-of-the-past.

23. Lines like "That's how things were back then." are lies you're telling to kids. Things are like that RIGHT NOW.

24. Hmm. Meltzer has Sacagawea quoting "Chief Meninock of the Yakama Tribe" saying "We can only be what we give ourselves power to be."

25. Did Meninock say that? , help me find it! So far, I've found it in one bk--but I need something more substantive.

26. In the final pages, Meltzer's Sacagawea tells readers: "Make your own path. Shatter expectations." Again, did she say those words?!

27. Next, she says "That's what I've always done." Oops, Meltzer. Didn't you tell us she was considered property that could be given away?

28. Based on what I've shared in this tweet thread, you are right if you're thinking that I will not recommend Meltzer's I AM SACAGAWEA.

29. Not Recommended: Brad Meltzer's I AM SACAGAWEA, published in 2017 by Dial/Penguin. Librarians: save your funds.

No comments: