"Children" was chosen as one of "Parenting Magazine" 's " 1998 Books of the Year" and "School Library Journal" 's " Best Books of 1998" ....
|Title||:||Children of the Midnight Sun: Young Native Voices of Alaska|
|Number of Pages||:||48 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Children of the Midnight Sun: Young Native Voices of Alaska Reviews
Children of the Midnight Sun: Young Native Voices of Alaska features eight Alaska Native children living at the interface of modernity and traditional cultures. For some, their group is undergoing a revival of cultural traditions whereas others have enjoyed less interruption/outside interference. This book is a great overview for children and adults alike. To my mind, the absolute most helpful thing in this volume for an outsider (i.e., non-Native and non-Alaskan) is the map at the beginning of the book. While elegant in its simplicity, this map conveys a load of information, including traditional culture areas and cultural names, modern place names and boundaries, mountains, rivers, and other landscape and physiographic features. Each of the eight children featured--four boys and four girls--represents one of the several groups (and some a blending of Native and non-Native) featured on the maps. The featured kids are identified as Inupiat, Athabascan, Aleut, Haida, Yup'ik, Tshimshian, Tlingit, and Aleut-Caucasian. Moreover, each featured child's home village is called out on this map so reader can readily begin to correlate place, culture, and the associated landscape features past and present--and the activities associated with them--that are called out in the essay.While written for a presumably non-Native--and quite likely non-Alaskan--audience, the featured children are immediately relatable to any reader. The book covers a lot of ground, introduces snippets of anthropology (e.g., the avunculate, clans, and moieties), touches on politics (e.g., the role of the Alaska Federation of Natives), and successfully links past and present in such a way as to readily overcome the "Indians = past" and "non-Natives = now" stereotypes that are all to prevalent in popular culture. (Admittedly, likely less an issue in Alaska, but probably still quite prevalent among the average non-Alaskan kid, teacher, or parent from the lower 48 who finds this book in their hands.)Given the age of the book (published in 1998), there are some placenames--most notably Mount McKinley (today known as Denali)--that have changed and which bear updating in a revised or revamped edition. Likewise, the book sidles up to complex and important topics such as the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, economic and cultural isolation, political power, extractive industries, and the environment. Without telling readers what to think about those topics, the book readily generates the opportunity for parent and teacher alike to either breeze on by or seize that "teachable moment" and take a deeper dive into any of these weightier topics depending upon the age and interest level of the kids reading and discussing the book. I bought the book to give as a holiday gift for a child. Naturally, I wanted to read the book before giving the gift--so as to assess what sort of questions might arise or to be able to make conversation on the topics it raises. The book was super helpful in orienting me, but given that I'm an adult who is fascinated by the place, its people, and history, I must acknowledge that it's quite possible I'm more interested in this subject matter than my intended recipient. In addition, as an adult reader, I couldn't help but wonder how the children featured here were selected, what sort of editing of their words or actions occurred, and particularly where they are today, and how their dreams for themselves, their villages, and families have panned out. Given that we are nearly two decades out from the book's original publication in 1998, it would also be interesting to have some sort of informal assessment done regarding how the culture camps and assorted language revitalization programs mentioned here have fared. That is to say, while the book could benefit from an update, I'd hate to lose these eight young peoples' stories and simply replace them with a new crop of faces. Just something I'd like to offer for the author's consideration.
This book shares the perspectives of various young people of different native tribes in Alaska and the Aleut Islands. Kids can learn a lot and this book is a great resource in any classroom and children's library.
I looked this one up first on Debbie Reese’s AICL blog and she doesn’t appear to have a review. However she mentions another book that recommends it with reservations.From my own reading of it I thought it was an interesting book. I love that they were little slices of life and it talked a lot about how many of these kids are trying to recapture their cultures that were forcibly taken from them. The essays don’t go into detail about it, but many of them do mention it.It does use the word Eskimo which I thought was something you weren’t supposed to do, so I found that a little confusing. The pictures are a bit dated as well and I couldn’t help but wonder how different life might be today with Internet access and more technology.I also wondered how these children, who would now be in their twenties, are passing their cultures on to their children and if they’ve kept up with their desire to keep their cultures alive.What surprised me most was that while reading it at bedtime to myself, my four year old daughter was captivated by it. She asked what it was about and, not wanting to engage her too much, I said it was a book about children who lived very far up north in Alaska. Instead of putting her off she became very curious and kept asking questions about the children. Where did they live? Did they live in houses that far North? What kind of clothes did they wear? What did they eat? I explained to her that they were native people and that they had a culture and celebrations and languages that were different than ours, but that were like our German culture and celebrations. I finally had to promise to read some of the profiles to her the next day.I know there may be reservations about the book and how it portrays and handles native culture, but the book piqued my daughter’s interest. Not only can it be exposure to these tribes and children, but it can be a jumping off point for learning more and for discussions about why these children are needing to bring their native cultures back. I suspect this would be a good book to add to a collection that features other strong books about native Alaskan cultures.