Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thursday Three: Native American Picture Books

I'm not a huge fan of most Thanksgiving books, but I do love Native American themed books.  That said, I am going to discuss three of my favorite Native American picture books.  I like the picture books because the culture comes through in the art as well as the words. 
The Rough-Face Girl5713491.  The Rough-Face Girl is an Algonquin Cinderella story.  It tells the story of a humble young girl, covered in burn scars from tending the fire.  Her horrible older sisters head off to marry the Invisible Being (who can only be seen by his sister and the one he will marry).  Of course they fail to see him.  Only the Rough-Face girl can see his face in the beauty of the earth.  It is a story about inner beauty and recognizing the glory all around us.  I love the illustrations (early David Shannon).  This is one of my favorite Cinderella stories.
Knots on a Counting Rope2.  The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush has a special place in my heart.  It is the retelling of an old Native American legend about how the Wyoming state flower (Indian Paintbrush) came by its name.  Little Gopher's Dream Vision shows him his path is to paint the stories of his tribe, and one day he will paint the evening sky.  Finding the right colors proves very difficult.  He stays true to his path and one day he is given the colors to portray the sunset.  During the night, the paintbrushes take root and spread over the land, blooming into beautiful flowers.  As a Wyoming girl, I have always loved this book.
3.  Knots on a Counting Rope is a story I remember from my childhood.  It is about a little blind boy and his grandfather.  They tell the story of the boy's birth and how he survived against the odds and trained and raced his own horse.  His grandfather encourages him to use his other senses to see and let his horse be his eyes.  The grandfather is preparing him for when he will no longer be there, reminding him of his story so he won't be afraid.  He is helping the boy build up his confidence.  It is inspiring and heartwarming.

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