March 2020, Nonfiction

What the Eagle Sees by Eldon Yellowhorn & Kathy Lowinger

What the Eagle Sees: Indigenous Stories of Rebellion and Renewal by Eldon Yellowhorn & Kathy Lowinger. November 12, 2019. Annick Press, 119 p. ISBN: 9781773213293.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

“There is no death. Only a change of worlds.”
       —Chief Seattle [Seatlh], Suquamish Chief       

What do people do when their civilization is invaded? Indigenous people have been faced with disease, war, broken promises, and forced assimilation. Despite crushing losses and insurmountable challenges, they formed new nations from the remnants of old ones, they adopted new ideas and built on them, they fought back, and they kept their cultures alive.

When the only possible “victory” was survival, they survived.

In this brilliant follow up to Turtle Island, esteemed academic Eldon Yellowhorn and award-winning author Kathy Lowinger team up again, this time to tell the stories of what Indigenous people did when invaders arrived on their homelands. What the Eagle Sees shares accounts of the people, places, and events that have mattered in Indigenous history from a vastly under-represented perspective—an Indigenous viewpoint.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Discrimination; Harsh realities of war; Racism; Violence

 

Reviews

Booklist starred (October 15, 2019 (Vol. 116, No. 4))
Grades 6-9. In Turtle Island (2017), Yellowhorn and Lowinger detailed North American Indigenous history up to 1492; here they document the resistance and resilience of Native peoples from European contact to the present. Thematic chapters explore early Viking settlements, slavery (especially as practiced by the Spanish), the prevalence of confederacies allying Indigenous groups, participation in wars (particularly the WWII Navajo code talkers), the changes horses brought to Indigenous society, forced migrations and massacres, attempts to assimilate Indigenous peoples into white society, prohibitions of Indigenous cultural activities, contemporary efforts toward reconciliation, and recognition of traditional knowledge. The tone is informative without becoming accusatory; indeed the facts (many of which will be new to young readers) speak clearly on their own. The choice of narrative style, inclusion of examples from all parts of North America, and an emphasis on personal stories over court decisions all result in a work that is highly accessible (and of interest) to a wide audience. Colorful, captioned illustrations (a mix of contemporary photographs, maps, and period reproductions) appear on almost every page, and numerous sidebars highlight topics of special interest. Framed with a discussion of the eagle and its importance to many Indigenous groups, Yellowhorn (a member of the Piikani Nation) and Lowinger have crafted a worthy and important addition to the historical record.

Kirkus Reviews starred (September 1, 2019)
The co-authors of Turtle Island: The Story of North America’s First People (2017) team up again, this time addressing encounters between the Indigenous people of North America and European invaders. A standout overview of Indigenous struggles, this slim volume highlights the scope of influence Europeans had on this continent by going beyond the standard story of English Pilgrims to include the Vikings and Spanish. The book follows a series of nonconsecutive events that highlight the resistance strategies, coping mechanisms, and renewal efforts undertaken by Indigenous nations primarily in present-day Canada and the U.S. Visually engaging, with colorful maps, drawings, photos, and artwork, the book includes modern moments in Native culture as well as history based on archaeological findings. Young readers will be introduced to an Indigenous astronaut and anthropologist as well as musicians, social activists, Olympians, soldiers, healers, and artists. The chapter titled “Assimilation” is a fine introduction to Indigenous identity issues, covering forcible conversion, residential schools, coercive adoption, and government naming policies. By no means comprehensive in their approach, Yellowhorn (Piikani) and Lowinger have focused on pivotal events designed to educate readers about the diversity of colonized experiences in the Americas. Sections in each chapter labeled “Imagine” are especially powerful in helping young readers empathize with Indigenous loss. Essential. (author’s note, glossary, selected sources, image credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

About the Authors

Eldon Yellowhorn (Piikani Nation) is a professor of First Nations Studies and archeology at Simon Fraser University. He and Kathy Lowinger wrote the critically-acclaimed Turtle Island: The Story of North America’s First People (2017).

His website is www.sfu.ca/indg/about/people/eldon-yellowhorn.html

 

Kathy Lowinger is an award-winning author whose books include Give Me Wings! How a Choir of Former Slaves Took on the World (2015), and Turtle Island: The Story of North America’s First People (2017).

 

 

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Infographic

Infographic – The Etymology and Symbolism of 50 Flowers

The Etymology and Symbolism of 50 Flowers

Here is comes… right around the corner lurks the depths of winter.  Why not take a little time to think ahead to spring and summer, and stop to smell (or look at) the flowers.  This wonderful reference guise looks at 50 different flowers and helps explain the meaning behind their names and just what each might mean when you add it to that bouquet for your special someone, or into your own garden. [VIA]

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December 2019, Fiction

The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas

The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan by Sherry Thomas. September 10, 2019. Tu Books, 348 p. ISBN: 9781620148044.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

CHINA, 484 A.D.

A Warrior in Disguise
All her life, Mulan has trained for one purpose: to win the duel that every generation in her family must fight. If she prevails, she can reunite a pair of priceless heirloom swords separated decades earlier, and avenge her father, who was paralyzed in his own duel.

Then a messenger from the Emperor arrives, demanding that all families send one soldier to fight the Rouran invaders in the north. Mulan’s father cannot go. Her brother is just a child. So she ties up her hair, takes up her sword, and joins the army as a man.

A War for a Dynasty
Thanks to her martial arts skills, Mulan is chosen for an elite team under the command of the princeling–the royal duke’s son, who is also the handsomest man she’s ever seen. But the princeling has secrets of his own, which explode into Mulan’s life and shake up everything she knows. As they cross the Great Wall to face the enemy beyond, Mulan and the princeling must find a way to unwind their past, unmask a traitor, and uncover the plans for the Rouran invasion . . . before it’s too late.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Violence, Gore, Alcohol

 

Reviews

Kirkus Reviews (July 1, 2019)
New life is breathed into the ballad of Mulan. The Hua and Yuan families share a legacy: As caretakers of the deftly made swords Sky Blade and Heart Sea, each generation must fight to determine the next guardians of the swords. Hua Mulan has only known a life of being disguised as a boy, trained in weaponry by her father. What her father does not know is that Mulan already spars with her future duel partner. On the eve of the showdown, the Hua family receives a letter citing political unrest threatening the Yuans as a reason to withdraw from this year’s duel. When the Hua family receives a conscription notice requiring one male per household to report for duty, Mulan enlists, quickly being recruited into the princeling’s elite team for her skills. Mulan finds herself caught in a web of sabotage, battles, and strained loyalties, trying to maintain her own cover and handling the growing affection between the princeling and herself. While the resolution may seem too neat for some, Thomas (The Hollow of Fear, 2018, etc.) brings new dimensions to the iconic character, weaving emotional depth and ethnic political issues into the plot. She immerses readers in bustling city streets and freezing swaths of wilderness. Scaffolded by detailed research, the story is based on actual historic conflicts and artifacts. A refreshing new take that pays homage to a legendary character. (author’s note, linguistic and historical notes) (Historical fiction. 12-15)

Publishers Weekly (October 14, 2019)
Rich cultural references, intricate political machinations, and thrilling Wuxia elements distinguish this deftly woven Mulan retelling by Thomas (The Immortal Heights), who was born and raised in China. Hua Mulan, who publicly assumes her deceased twin brother’s name, Hua Muyang, fills her days with projectile training alongside her father, caring for her seven-year-old brother, and secretly looking forward to the sporadic training sessions she has with Yuan Kai, a mysterious boy she is fated to duel with over a pair of matchless inherited swords. But mandatory conscription causes the match to be deferred, and Mulan enlists on behalf of her household. Her martial arts expertise earns her a role accompanying the royal duke’s son, a young man who seems strangely familiar. As the Rouran invasion looms, Mulan and her companions must evade danger and uncover a traitor at court while unpacking their preconceived notions about family, fear, and nomadic tribes. Skillful martial arts scenes combine with crucial discourse on power, gender, and the impact of language on history in this gripping, thoughtfully layered reinterpretation.

About the Author

Sherry Thomas is the author of nineteen novels across multiple genres, including the acclaimed Lady Sherlock mystery series, a YA fantasy trilogy that began with The Burning Sky, and more than a dozen romance novels, which have twice won her the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award. Born in China, she learned English as a second language, and now lives and writes in Austin, Texas.

Her website is sherrythomas.com.

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Infographic

Each State’s Scariest Urban Legend — Infographic

The Creepiest Urban Legends in Each State

Everyone knows one:   The story that just makes you shiver.  The cautionary tale told to keep the kids (and some adults) away from some sketchy areas.  The creepy legend that had just enough reality to it to be totally convincing.  Urban legends are everywhere, and each one is as unique as the areas and communities they spring from.  Collected today are what are considered the scariest (or sometimes more obscure) urban legends from each state.  What are some of your favorites? [VIA]

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Fiction, November 2019

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron. September 3, 2019. HarperTeen, 485 p. ISBN: 9780062870957.  Int Lvl: YA.

A girl with no gifts must bargain for the power to fight her own mother’s dark schemes—even if the price is her life.

Heir to two lines of powerful witch doctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. Yet she fails at bone magic, fails to call upon her ancestors, and fails to live up to her family’s legacy. Under the disapproving eye of her mother, the Kingdom’s most powerful priestess and seer, she fears she may never be good enough.

But when the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, Arrah is desperate enough to turn to a forbidden, dangerous ritual. If she has no magic of her own, she’ll have to buy it—by trading away years of her own life.

Arrah’s borrowed power reveals a nightmarish betrayal, and on its heels, a rising tide of darkness that threatens to consume her and all those she loves. She must race to unravel a twisted and deadly scheme… before the fight costs more than she can afford.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong sexual themes, Violence

 

Book Trailer

Reviews

Kirkus Reviews (July 1, 2019)
A teenage girl ashamed of her lack of magic must step up when she discovers evil at work in her kingdom. Privileged Arrah has never wanted for anything—except magic. Though she comes from powerful magical lineages on both her parents’ sides, when she turns 16 without developing any gifts, she must finally admit she won’t be blessed with magic. Heartbroken, Arrah throws herself into discovering who’s behind the recent child abductions in her kingdom. The magic needed to accomplish such a task has a high cost, and her discovery of the culprit proves to be a devastating revelation. In Arrah’s West African–based world, there are orishas as well as other gods and demons, and orishas are able to converse directly with humans. Arrah, aided by her friends (including love interest Rudjek), must mine hitherto unknown depths in herself in order to stop the ascension of the Demon King, who supposedly was vanquished by the orishas long ago. Though the pace is sometimes slow and the page count perhaps higher than needed, Arrah’s a compelling heroine, relatable in her fallibility, and her story is intriguing. Most characters are black; Rudjek is biracial (his light-skinned mother and a handful of other characters hail from the north). An imperfect but promising series opener. (Fantasy. 12-18)

School Library Journal (August 1, 2019)
Gr 9 Up-Legend has it that the orisha destroyed all of the demons in the Almighty Kingdom, but when children begin to disappear from the Kingdom and a great evil looms, it seems that perhaps the orisha were wrong. And if they were wrong about this, where else have they failed? Sixteen-year-old Arrah is the daughter of two powerful witch doctors in a long lineage of magic. For as long as she can remember, she has waited to come into magic of her own, and though she has the ability to see magic, she cannot touch it. Magic in the Kingdom, however, can be acquired at a cost. Will Arrah be willing to give up years of her life in exchange for the magic that might be able to save the people she loves? In this epic West African-inspired debut, Barron weaves a story filled with blood magic, political intrigue, epic world-building, and a brilliant cast of characters. VERDICT Fans of folklore-inspired fantasy and Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer will relish in this masterful tale. From start to finish, this magical debut is not to be missed.-India Winslow, Cary Memorial Library, Lexington, MA

About the Author

Rena Barron grew up in small-town Alabama where stories of magic and adventure sparked her imagination. After penning her first awful poem in middle school, she graduated to writing short stories and novels by high school. Rena loves all things science fiction, ghosts, and superheroes. She’s a self-proclaimed space nerd. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading or brushing up on her French.

Her website is renabarron.com.

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Kingdom of Souls on Amazon

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