The Cajun people have a long history of having to leave their homes: first in France, then later in Canada, and even in America, families were broken apart by exile and were scattered across the continent. They were pushed farther and farther south, finally into the swamps and marshes of southern Louisiana. Here, deep in the bayous and backwaters, they have created a home for themselves that is unlike any other place on earth. In beautifully composed photographs and lucid text, Bial illuminates the spirit, ...
The Cajun people have a long history of having to leave their homes: first in France, then later in Canada, and even in America, families were broken apart by exile and were scattered across the continent. They were pushed farther and farther south, finally into the swamps and marshes of southern Louisiana. Here, deep in the bayous and backwaters, they have created a home for themselves that is unlike any other place on earth. In beautifully composed photographs and lucid text, Bial illuminates the spirit, resiliency, and warmth of the Cajun people.
Discusses the history and culture of the Cajuns, French-speaking people who settled deep in the woods and bayous of Louisiana.
This book is a continuation of a series that explains and shows the background and lifestyle of unique groups of people in US history. Shaker Home, Amish Home and Frontier Home are all Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies and this book will undoubtedly join them. Bial tells how the Cajuns came to Louisiana, the origin of their name, and he describes how they lived and worked. He also provides insight into the changes that have taken place in this century-the spread of Cajun cuisine and the interest in Cajun and Creole music, of which zydeco may be the best known and most popular. The pictures are sharp and clear. They show the past and present and treat this American sub-culture with respect.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6Adding another title to his excellent series of photo-essays about distinctive American cultures, Bial uses his lens to illuminate the Louisiana Cajun lifestyle. Through stunning full-color pictures of little thingsa boat, a chair, a washboardhe meticulously builds a portrait of a fascinating people. The readable text is as illuminating as the photos, starting with an informative but concise discussion of their history and migration from the northern coastal regions of France to the bayous of Louisiana where they now reside. In spare prose, Bial offers essential facts and also covers a broad spectrum of the Cajuns' daily life, past and present, including their food with a recipe for jambalaya, their music, and their own particular brand of Mardi Gras. The book provides an excellent look at this unique culture and is by far the most informative and accurate children's title on this subject. A short, useful list for further reading contains both fiction and nonfiction. All together, a quality production.Judith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Bial's exquisite photography glorifies Cajun life, past and present, in a format similar to his other books, including Shaker Home (1994). After a note on dialectþBial includes many French phrases, with meanings and pronunciations, within the textþhe launches into the origins of Cajun people, sketching in a historical framework and telling how their lot as refugees inspired Longfellow's "Evangeline." Customs, homes and land, household objects, cooking, music, tangled blood lines, and rich language are all clearly described, appearing with striking photographs of quilts, wooden shoes, textiles, furniture, and shops. The book is accessible and inviting, but few readers will know how to discriminate between Bial's introduction to the Cajunsþ"Deep in the woods and swamps of Louisiana live the Cajuns" and "the Cajuns were driven deep into the Atchafalaya Swamp, [which] teems with fish, alligators, crawfish, and other wildlife. It is the heart of Cajun country"þand his later blasting of a stereotype of the Cajuns as "coarse people who lived in the woods and swamps thick with alligators and snakes." He then provides another kind of oversimplification by uniformly praising Cajuns as "delightful people known for their hard work and generosity." Readers who can get past these minor points of confusion will close the book with a sense that they, too, have traveled to Cajun country. (further reading) (Nonfiction. 8-12)
From the Publisher
"Attractive and compelling. As well as being informative, the photographs create a mood through which readers enter another lifestyle." School Library Journal, Starred
Raymond Bial is an acclaimed photoessayist for children. Four of his books were chosen as Notable Books in the Field of Social Studies by the NCSS. He lives in Urbana, Illinois, with his wife and children.