House Of Purple Cedar

“The hour has come to speak of troubled times. It is time we spoke of Skullyville.” Thus begins Rose Goode’s story of her growing up in Indian Territory in pre-statehood Oklahoma. Skullyville, a once-thriving Choctaw community, was destroyed by land-grabbers, culminating in the arson on New Year’s Eve, 1896, of New Hope Academy for Girls. Twenty Choctaw girls died, but Rose escaped. She is blessed by the presence of her grandmother Pokoni and her grandfather Amafo, both respected elders who understand the old ways. Soon after the fire, the white sheriff beats Amafo in front of the town’s people, humiliating him. Instead of asking the Choctaw community to avenge the beating, her grandfather decides to follow the path of forgiveness. And so unwinds this tale of mystery, Indian-style magical realism, and deep wisdom.

Coyote And The Sky: How The Sun, Moon, And Stars Began

According to Santa Ana Pueblo legend, the animals’ spirit Leader created the sun, moon, and stars by using woven yucca mats and hot coals. He selected certain animals to climb from their homes in the Third World up to the Fourth World. The Squirrel, the Rabbit, and the Badger were all allowed to go. The Coyote, however, was forbidden to accompany them because he was always causing trouble and stealing food from the others. Regardless of what he was told, Coyote refused to stay in the Third World. He found a hiding place and waited for a chance to follow the animals to the Fourth World. When the other animals discovered Coyote, they summoned the Leader to the Fourth World to deal with him. Coyote’s punishment is a lesson in what happens to animals, or people, when they refuse to obey instructions. Writing for the younger reader, Emmett ‘Shkeme’ Garcia, a member of the Santa Ana tribe, shares his Pueblo’s story of the beginnings of the stars and constellations. Victoria Pringle’s illustrations provide visual elements that enhance the action of the story. All ages.

I Help

Written and illustrated by members of the Tahltan and Cree nations, this sweet, simple story looks at a very special relationship. A young boy goes for a walk with his kohkom, or grandmother, listening, picking, praying, eating . . . just as she does. In doing so, he begins to learn the rich cultural traditions and values of his Cree heritage. Leona Neilson’s thoughtful text and Caitlin Dale Nicholson’s acrylic-on-canvas illustrations blend beautifully to show both the deep bond between the boy and his grandmother and the beauty of their world. Poetic, resonant text makes this an ideal read-aloud for young ears.