Jan 242014
 
 January 24, 2014  Book Reviews, raising world citizens

Native American Creation Tale: Multicultural Children's Book Day - Alldonemonkey.com

This post is part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children’s Literature.  For more details, see below.

When I was a kid, I was fascinated by flood stories.  I read Joseph Campbell (still do!) and reveled in the notion that the same archetypes and spiritual truths can be found in the foundational stories throughout the world.

So I was thrilled when I received The Otter, The Spotted Frog, and the Great Flood from Wisdom Tales to review.  It is a flood tale from the Creek Indians, and though it has echoes of Noah’s Ark, it is also so different that I found myself in suspense as I was reading.  Who would survive the great flood, and what would happen next?

I was just plain happy to read a native tale from the Southeastern US, where I was born (and where my Cherokee ancestors were from).   While there are some native tales available in children’s literature (not enough!) there are few from this region.

The hero of this flood tale is not the great buffalo chief Honors Himself but the humble river otter, whose name is Listener.  And it is this quality – truly listening – that saves him and ultimately brings about the birth of humanity.  For only Listener pays attention to the spotted frog when he sings of the coming flood and how to survive it.  And after the flood Listener’s willingness to listen to the voices of the new world helps bring new life (the two-legged ones) to the world.

The moral of the story is clear: All creatures should be respected and their wisdom honored, even if they are small spotted frogs, who sing from the wet woods.  It is also a story about conviction and not letting go of your dreams even when others laugh at you for believing.  And finally, it is about forgiveness and love, since Listener’s love for Otter Woman (even though she doubted him at times) brings about his and her transformation into the First Man and First Woman.

Ramon Shiloh’s illustrations are just stunning, and they complement beautifully Gerald Hausman’s retelling of this Creek Indian tale.  I would especially recommend it for school age children, though younger children will appreciate the animal drawings and gentle rhythm of the tale.  I thought it would be a bit long for my preschooler, but to my surprise he sat enthralled through our reading of this beautiful book.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children’s Literature

Multicultural Children's Book Day

Children’s books like The Otter, The Spotted Frog, and the Great Flood are much needed today, as there is an appalling lack of diversity in children’s literature.  Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content.  Diversity in literature benefits all children.  Children need to hear tales that speak to their experiences but also tales to draw them into other experiences.  Children need to read stories that include people of all colors and walks of life.  Otherwise, their imaginative worlds will not be as rich or as colorful.

Thankfully, Mia of Pragmatic Mom and Valarie of Jump Into A Book/Audrey Press have created Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children’s Literature.  Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.

How can you get involved?  Support our sponsors, and visit the other blogs taking part in this project (all listed below).  You can also follow the Multicultural Books for Kids board on Pinterest.  For all the latest on this great event, visit Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children’s Literature.

Sponsors

We are grateful to our wonderful sponsors, who made this event possible:

Wisdom Tales Press (who published the book reviewed here), Chronicle BooksLee & Low Books (read my review of their wonderful books), and Susan Daniel Fayad, author of My Grandfather’s Masbaha.

More Reviews of Multicultural Books

For more reviews of great multicultural books, visit the wonderful blogs below:

2GirlsLostInaBook · 365 Days of Motherhood · A Bilingual Baby · A Simple Life, Really? · Africa to America · After School Smarty Pants · All Done Monkey · Andi’s Kids Books · Anita Brown Bag  · Austin Gilkeson · Barbara Ann Mojica ·  Books My Kids Read · Bottom Shelf Books · Cats Eat Dogs · Chasing The Donkey · Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac · Children’s Books Heal · Church o Books · CitizenBeta · Crafty Moms Share · Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes · Early Words · Flowering Minds · Franticmommy · Gathering Books · GEO Librarian · Gladys Barbieri · Going in Circles · The Good Long Road · Growing Book by Book · iGame Mom · I’m Not The Nanny · InCulture Parent · Itsy Bitsy Mom ·Just Children’s Books– Kid World Citizen · Kristi’s Book Nook · Mama Lady Books · Mama Smiles · Mission Read · Mother Daughter Book Reviews · Mrs AOk · MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter · Ms. Yingling Reads · Multicultural Kids Blog · One Sweet World · Open Wide The World · P is for Preschooler · Rapenzel Dreams · School4Boys · Sharon the Librarian · Spanish Playground · Sprout’s Bookshelf · Squishable Baby · Stanley and Katrina · Teach Mama · The Art of Home Education · The Brain Lair · The Educators’ Spin On It · The Family-Ship Experience · The Yellow Door Paperie · This Kid Reviews Books  · Trishap’s Books · Unconventional Librarian · Vicki Arnold · We3Three · World for Learning · Wrapped in Foil 

 

  23 Responses to “Native American Creation Tale {Multicultural Children’s Book Day}”

  1. This book sounds fantastic. I wish there were more native american stories in English class. In Barcelona, we usually have many books from England (I love Peter Pan and many, many others, they’re great!) but, the more stories, the better!

    • I agree! It would be great to have all types of stories taught, including Native American ones. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. What a fascinating book, and I I love your review! My son loves all things animal, and I’m sure this will be a hit in our home. Thank you for sharing!

  3. The book sounds truly wonderful. I have to look for it, since my daughter loves myths and creation stories.

  4. I loved this creation story too!! Thanks so much for joining us for Multicultural Children’s Book Day Leanna!

  5. This sounds like a fabulous book! We love reading Noah’s Ark stories — looks as though we may have to add this one to our library. 🙂

  6. Great review, I things with animals are my fave, so my son has to read them the most.

  7. I didn’t know you have Cherokee ancestry Leanna! How wonderful that you were matched up with this book. I think it’s Creek but I hope we have a Cherokee children’s book for you next year! Thank you so much for joining us for Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Your support is a huge part of the success. Thank you also for getting Multicultural Kids Blogs and the wonderful bloggers on that blog involved too. We really appreciate all your support!!!

    • Thank you so much! So happy to be a part of this great event! And yes, just a little on my mother’s side, but I am very proud of it 🙂

  8. […] Mama · A Simple Life, Really? · Africa to America · After School for Smarty Pants · All Done Monkey · Andi’s Kids Books · Anita Brown Bag  · Austin Gilkeson · Barbara Ann Mojica · […]

  9. […] Mama · A Simple Life, Really? · Africa to America · After School for Smarty Pants · All Done Monkey · Andi’s Kids Books · Anita Brown Bag  · Austin Gilkeson · Barbara Ann Mojica · […]

  10. […] Mama · A Simple Life, Really? · Africa to America · After School for Smarty Pants · All Done Monkey · Andi’s Kids Books · Anita Brown Bag  · Austin Gilkeson · Barbara Ann Mojica · […]

  11. I love this review and I love finding great Native American stories – this one sounds really lovely.

  12. […] Bilingual Baby · Africa to America · After School Smarty Pants · All Done Monkey · Chasing The Donkey · Crafty Moms Share · Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes […]

  13. […] Another wonderful story from Wisdom Tales is The Otter, the Spotted Frog, and the Great Flood, a Creation tale from the Creek Indians retold by Gerald Hausman.  It teaches a wonderful lesson about the importance of paying attention to even the smallest creatures.  (Read my full review). […]

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