Sunday, January 9, 2011

Black Elk’s Vision

Nelson, S.D. Black Elk’s Vision
Abrams, Harry 2010 48p 19.95
978-0-8109-8399-1 elem E-BNe
Children’s book that tells the story of Black Elk, a Lakota Sioux who survived several famous battles between his people and the white man. A chosen one who had visions from a higher being, Black Elk shared the gift of hope with his nation.
The story of the destruction of a way of life must be told to everyone, even to children. S. D. Nelson’s portrait, both literally and figuratively, describes the life of Black Elk, a Native American who had visions, who experienced the joys and pain of his journey through the Circle of Life, and finally, who helped his people understand life by sharing his story in 1932 in a book called, Black Elk Speaks. Initially, the voice and tone are that of a child, yet as the reader continues to turn the pages of Black Elk’s life, the voice and tone mature yet retain a simplicity that is appealing. Real photographs stand side by side with colorful illustrations created by Nelson to help a less mature reader comprehend the story of how a nation of Wha-shi-choos (White Men) systematically and brutally took control of the frontier. Black Elk describes his childhood when the Lakota followed the buffalo and played hunting games. He shares the story of his survival against a strange fever and of the vision that he saw of all beings of the earth dancing together. During the Battle of Little Bighorn, the young Black Elk killed alongside his fellow Lakota Sioux, and he smelled the blood of the dead. After the death of Crazy Horse, Black Elk’s tribe surrendered, yet he did not give up. He shared his vision of survival with his tribe, and later joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show to learn about the white man. Tragically, his nation was almost destroyed in the battle at Wounded Knee. Black Elk uses the knowledge that he has acquired from his visions to help his people in this inspiring children’s book. He uses a timeline effectively, and his extensive bibliography and index are helpful tools.
Outstanding book for any library, especially an elementary school classroom library. This book is also wonderful for use as a read-aloud during a lesson about cultural diversity. Squaresky(2), Martha
Autobiography of survival of Native American nation

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