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Month in review

Reviews:

The Bones of Giants by Yoon Ha Lee
Candy and Me by Hilary Liftin
Color is Everything by Dan Bartges
The Dancers' War (in by N. K. Jemisin
Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House #9) by Mary Pope Osborne
Fairy Hunters, Ink. by Sheila A Dane
Falling into the Sun by Charrie Hazard
Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown
The Frequency of Souls by Mary Kay Zuravleff
The Goddamned Tooth Fairy by Tina Kuzminski
Goldilicious by Elizabeth and Victoria Kann
Haunted (Mediator #5) by Meg Cabot
Horrible Harry and the Green Slime by Suzy Kline
Hunchster by Matthew Hughes
I Spy School Days by Jean Marzollo
Icarus Saved from the Sky by Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud
I'd Rather We Got Casinos: And Other Black Thoughts by Larry Wilmore
A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux
The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare by G. K. Chesterton
A Matter of Feeling by Janine Boissard
The Navajo (True Books) by Alice Osinski
The Night Villa by Carol Goodman
No Elephants Allowed by Deborah Robinson
On the Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck
The Others by Lawrence C. Connolly
Painting the Invisible Man by Rita Schiano
Precious Jeopardy: A Christmas Story by Lloyd C. Douglas
Real Sofistikashun by Tony Hoagland
Robot Dreams by Sara Varon
The Secret of the Pink Pokémon by Tracey West
The Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright
The Sky Rained Heroes by Frederick LaCroix
Synarchy Book 1: The Awakening by DCS
The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène Du Bois
The Wild Wood by Charles de Lint
Winter Walk by Ann Burg

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for the Navajo (True Books)

NavajoThe Navajo (True Books): 10/14/09

The Navajo by Alice Osinski is one of True Books series of books that looks at different Native American nations. They are aimed at students in grades 3 to 5 but are a decent starting point for learning the basic cultural differences and important historical facts. I chose The Navajo because of an almost twenty year fascination with the Diné culture. 

In 1990 my brother and I spent our spring break on a road trip with our grandmother. We went to Phoenix and then up north to see the Grand Canyon. En route we stopped at a rest stop where various artisans were selling jewelry and other small things to tourists, right under the signs saying that vending wasn't permitted.

My grandmother and I ignored the signs as a bit of civil disobedience as she called it and we bought necklaces from a pair of women. The older one was on the look out for police and they were speaking mostly in Spanish. At the time I was in AP Spanish so I had almost no trouble understanding them. All the local dialects of Spanish have some native words thrown in so part of the game of understanding is to get the context.

The grandmother said to the granddaughter, "Uhoh esa Bilagáanaa  nos entiende." After that the Spanish words became infrequent even with the younger woman's protests of "Oh abuelita!" While I'd never heard the word Bilagáanaa before it took the spot of "gringa" and it was obvious they were talking about me.

Eighteen months later I was in a non western art history course in college that to my amusement had a long focus on Native American art. Two cultures from the area we studied at length were the Diné and Hopi. In doing the reading I came to recognize that the necklaces were of Diné designs and that the word Bilagáanaa meant white person (with much of the same derogatory connotations as gringo/a does). Since I had to learn about them anyway for the class, I went a little overboard and checked out every single book my university had and read them over course of the quarter.

So nearly twenty years later my fascination with their history and culture hasn't abated. When I saw the collection of books I instinctively picked the Navajo one.

As the book was written in 1987, the "modern ways" section is probably outdated but it was an interesting trip back in time to when my curiosity had first been piqued. Most of the book covers their recent history and The Long Walk which inspired the novel She Who Hears the Sun. There isn't much on their actual cultural beliefs but that's to be expected. They hold their traditional and spiritual beliefs as too sacred to share willy-nilly.

For a book aimed at city kids, it does a good job of trying to stay balanced especially in the history where both sides had people who didn't follow the treaties.

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