Reviews for Native Americans : Discover the History & Cultures of the First Americans, with 15 Projects

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 August

Gr 3-5--Inaccurate illustrations and oversimplified text make this a poor choice for either assignments or leisure reading. Attempting to cover all Native American history from the first inhabitants onward results in unfortunate generalizations, and in many places the author characterizes all Native Americans as a group rather than providing information about specific people or nations. While the tone is sympathetic, Kavin occasionally uses dated stereotypes. Similarly, the interior images include black-and-white cartoons that border on caricature, as in the illustration of long-haired, feather-headdress-wearing, mostly shirtless men sitting outside teepees. Clothing and hairstyles in the sketchy drawings appear to conflate dissimilar cultures and time periods, and most lack explanatory captions. The 15 projects range from silly (watching ice cream melt in order to understand the ice age) to highly unlikely, at least for most urban children (making a life-size travois with poles twice as long as a child is tall). Yvonne Wakim Dennis's A Kid's Guide to Native American History (Chicago Review Press, 2009) covers similar ground in a more thoughtful manner.--Sarah Stone, San Francisco Public Library

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