El Pueblo Seguirá

Told in the rhythms of traditional oral narrative, this telling of the history of the Native/Indigenous peoples of North America recounts their story from Creation to the invasion and usurpation of Native lands. As more and more people arrived, The People saw that the new men did not respect the land. The People witnessed the destruction of their Nations and the enslavement of their people. The People fought hard, but eventually agreed to stop fighting and signed treaties. Many things changed and became more difficult, but The People continued to farm and create crafts. They remembered and told their children, “You are Shawnee. You are Lakota. You are Pima. You are Acoma. . . . You are all these Nations of the People.” The People held onto their beliefs and customs and found solidarity with other oppressed people. And despite struggles against greed, destruction of their lands, and oppression, The People persisted.

Anacaona, Golden Flower, Haiti, 1490

With her signature narrative grace, Edwidge Danticat brings Haiti’s beautiful queen Anacaona to life. Queen Anacaona was the wife of one of her island’s rulers, and a composer of songs and poems, making her popular among her people. Haiti was relatively quiet until the Spanish conquistadors discovered the island and began to settle there in 1492. The Spaniards treated the natives very cruelly, and when the natives revolted, the Spanish governor of Haiti ordered the arrests of several native nobles, including Anacaona, who was eventually captured and executed, to the horror of her people.

Kiwi Moon

Created by well-known children’s writer and illustrator Gavin Bishop, this is the story of a little white kiwi. When he is born his mother doesn’t recognise him because he’s not brown. Little Kiwi looks to the moon as his mother instead because it is white and bright and round. In the background of this story we see the changing times of a nearby pa. Through illustrations only we see intertribal warfare, the death of the chief, English soldiers arriving and then the burning of the pa. This fire spreads and the two stories become one as the white kiwi’s habitat is razed to the ground.On the surface this is a very simple story but it also contains themes of intertribal warfare, European colonisation of New Zealand, Maori/Pakeha relations, and conservation. There is a lot to savour on each page – with Gavin’s stunning illustrations of the main kiwi story, the on-going images of the pa, plus close-ups of insects and plants.

African Beginnings

From the ancient kingdom of Kush, whose black pharaohs ruled Egypt for nearly a century, to the sixteenth-century empire of the Kongo, whose emperor was so powerful he was able to halt the trade in slaves for a number of years, the African continent rang with a series of glorious civilizations that have had a lasting impact on the world’s history, and on American culture. James Haskins and Floyd Cooper have won numerous awards for their books for young people, including several Coretta Scott King Honor awards.

The Lady In The Blue Cloak: Legends From The Texas Missions

For each Texas mission, there is a rich and complicated history. In the title story, from Mision de San Francisco de los Tejas, a mysterious woman in blue visits the Teas people to prepare them for the missionaries\’ arrival. In \”Rosa\’s Window\” and \”The Bell\” the love and grief of two couples torn apart in the making of the Mision de San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo manifest themselves in the very edifices of the mission. The Mision de Nuestra SEnora de la Purisma Concepcion de Acuna, named for and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, was the scene of a remarkable salvation as the Teas workers tried to escape the heated pursuit of the Comanches in \”The Miracle at the Gate.\” Here Kimmel gracefully retells these and other powerful legends behind four of th missions, each enhanced by a beautifully evocative painting by Susan Guevara.

The Diving Bell

Culca longs to dive, but girls on her native island take care of the men. The divers are essential to the survival of the village as the pearls and shells they gather are used for trading. All is not well, however. When Spanish ships full of gold sink in a storm, the village divers are taken to recover the treasure, and Culca must use her nimble wits and unflagging bravery to save her brother’s life. Culca comes through as a strong female voice.

Popol Vuh: A Sacred Book of the Maya

One of the few Maya documents to survive the Spanish conquest, the Popol Vuh describes the creation of the Maya universe and of humans. It tells the tale of the Hero Twins, who defeated the gods of the underworld in a ball game, and details the legendary history of the Quiche Maya rulers until their imprisonment and torture by the Spanish. Equivalent to the Bible and the Greek and Roman mythologies, the Popol Vuh is the essential text of Mayan culture.

When My Name Was Keoko

Sun-hee and her older brother Tae-yul are proud of their Korean heritage. Yet they live their lives under Japanese occupation. All students must read and write in Japanese and no one can fly the Korean flag. Hardest of all is when the Japanese Emperor forces all Koreans to take Japanese names. Sun-hee and Tae-yul become Keoko and Nobuo. Korea is torn apart by their Japanese invaders during World War II. Everyone must help with war preparations, but it doesn’t mean they are willing to defend Japan. Tae-yul is about to risk his life to help his family, while Sun-hee stays home guarding life-and-death secrets.

Jane Addams Honor Book