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The ABCs of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond by Steven Charney and David Goldbeck
At Her Majesty's Request by Walter Dean Myers
Bleach Volume 14 by Tite Kubo
Blind Side by Penny Warner
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
Castrato by Michael Collins
Character Flu by Robert Reed
Chronicle of the City of Havana by Eduardo Galeano
Color for Thought by the 5th grade class of Coast Episcopal School
Crescent Moon Volume 1 by Haruko Iida
The Cuba Journal by Sophia Peabody Hawthorne
Cuba Revisited by Martha Gellhorn
Cuban Childhood by Fidel Castro and Frei Betto
Diary of the Boy King Tutankhamen by June Reig
The Dive from Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer
Dora's Backpack by Sarah Willson
Dreaming in Cuban (excerpt) by Cristina Garcia
Dreamland by Clarence Budington Kelland
Fables from the Mud by Erik Quisling
Fergus by Mary Patterson Thornburg
The Ghost of Lizard Light by Elvira Woodruff
The Girl Genius Omnibus by Kaja and Phil Foglio
Go Green by Nancy H. Taylor
Image of Josephine by Booth Tarkington
Jewel in the Skull by Michael Moorcock
The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter
Litany by Rand B Lee
Local Rites by Paul Daffey
Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann
Monkey See... by P. E. Cunningham
Nature's Children: Ostriches by Merebeth Switzer
Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda
No More Monsters for Me by Peggy Parish
OPEN Brand by Kelly Mooney and Nita Rollins
Operation Ghost by Jacques Duquennoy
Ophie Out of Oz by Kathleen O'Dell
Our Man in Havana (Excerpt) by Graham Greene
Peacocks by Ruth Berman
Picture Purrfect Kittens by Erika Tatihara and Masaru Mizobuti
The Pigeon Loves Things That Go by Mo Willems
The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl
The Salting and Canning of Benevolence D. by Al Michaud
The Sea Shack by Mark McNulty
She Who Hears the Sun by Pamela Jekel
Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter
Shoes by Debbie Bailey and Susan Huszar
Show Me Your Smile by Christine Ricci
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
State Birds by Arthur and Alan Singer
Still Hot by Sue Mittenthal and Linda Reing
A Superior Death by Nevada Barr
Tundra Swans by Bianca Lavies
The War with Spain (excerpt) by Henry Cabot Lodge
Where's the Big Red Doggie? by Norman Bridwell
What to Wear by Consuelo Hermer and Marjorie May
Wheels, Wheels and More Wheels by Ed and Ruth Radlauer
Wild Turkeys by Julian May

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She Who Hears the Sun: 06/18/08

She Who Hears the Sun

Yesterday I shared my ongoing fascination with Tutankhamen and the 18th Dynasty. Today I'm reviewing a historical fiction about another interest of mine, Navajo (Diné) history and culture. I think it started with all the family vacations to Arizona as a kid but it wasn't until college that I started doing actual research for fun.

She Who Hears the Sun is a historical fiction that covers the war with the United States as settlers pushed west and the eventual demarcation of the modern day Navajo Nation (Diné Bikéyah) which extends through much of Arizona, New Mexico and into Utah.

Although Pamela Jekel mostly keeps the narrative centered around a single family of Navajos, she does try to give the perspective of the other groups involved: the Utes, the Mexicans and the American soldiers. She further sets the state by following a number of wild creatures who also give a somewhat spiritual gloss to another wise straightforward historical fiction.

The main characters though are Ayoi and her daughter, Pahe, later renamed At'ééd Johonaa'éí Yidiits'a'í (She Who Hears the Sun) and the other members of their immediate family. Like many cultures, there is the private name that only the closest family members will use and the public name that everyone else will use. Jekel uses these two identities for her characters to bring an extra intimacy and poignancy to certain scenes.

The book comes in at about 400 pages with another ten or so of bibliography. Although the book is fiction, it is full of so many interesting details that I was constantly putting the book down to take notes, something I very rarely do when reading for fun. I even bought a book listed in her bibliography (one that I had used as a reference back in college).

To learn more about the Navajo, check out their website!


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