For a Girl Becoming

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Overview

Transformative moments in the cycle of life are a time for acknowledgment, a chance to guide a child’s path in a positive and loving direction.

Swirling images laden with both myth and personal meaning illustrate this unique, poetic tale of the joys and lessons of a girl’s journey through birth, youth, and finally adulthood. Within these colorful pages, family and community come together in celebration of her arrival, offering praise, love, and advice to help carry her forward ...

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Overview

Transformative moments in the cycle of life are a time for acknowledgment, a chance to guide a child’s path in a positive and loving direction.

Swirling images laden with both myth and personal meaning illustrate this unique, poetic tale of the joys and lessons of a girl’s journey through birth, youth, and finally adulthood. Within these colorful pages, family and community come together in celebration of her arrival, offering praise, love, and advice to help carry her forward through the many milestones to come, and reminding her always of how deeply she is cherished. It is a reminder, too, of our abiding connections to the natural world, and the cyclical nature of life as a whole.

With its rich, symbolic artwork and captivating language, For a Girl Becoming is the perfect gift to recognize a birth, graduation, or any other significant moment in a young woman’s life. Not only for children, this lively and touching story speaks to that part in each of us who still stands at the door of becoming.
 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is a blessing to bestow on all of the young women in our lives. With Joy Harjo’s words, ‘As you travel with us,’ the road opens, and the journey promises to be lined with help—and love.” —Debra Frasier, author and illustrator of On the Day You Were Born
Children's Literature - Sheilah Egan
This striking book captures life advice, living wisdom and spiritual affirmations in a paean to the value of individual life, particularly that of a young girl growing into her womanhood. Welcomed into life with unconditional love by both sides of her Native American family, the story of her birth is described with reassuring words of the blessings that were part of her first day in this world, the day "rains came in from the Pacific to bless." The language of the book is often deceptively simple and underscores the strength of the feelings expressed, such as "We want you to know that we urgently gathered to welcome you here." Other sentiments are expressed with the same ardor and intensity as the girl child grows older and faces the same challenges all people encounter. Still, this young woman always has the underlying knowledge that her family is there "because [she is] one of us." The family ties are extremely important, and it is the family's duty to teach her the ways of good living with advice such as: "Give a drink of water to all who ask, whether they be plant, creature, human, of helpful spirit. May you always have clean, fresh water." The illustrations reflect the ethereal sentiments of the book. Lots of vivid colors and swirls of things almost unseen are depicted. Many of the pictures have multiple images that unite to form an overall impression of the scene, rather than show an exact presentation of the unity of the family and its interaction with natural forces. After her family members share with her all of their experiential wisdom, the young woman is reminded of her own birth with words from the opening of the book and simply reminded: "And you are here to bless." Thisis a very thoughtful way to look at what it means to come into adulthood with a strong foundation of wisdom and love from the important people in one's life and to be reminded that one must live reflecting that same wisdom and love. Highly recommended for purchase by libraries and as a special gift for females of all ages. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan
School Library Journal
Gr 6–8—This poem in free verse is addressed to a Native American girl about to go out into the world. The writing is lyrical with a natural rhythm and rich imagery. Harjo talks about the gifts the girl receives from her family at birth and her responsibilities as she grows to adulthood. The poem encourages her to share with others and be grateful for the world. It is an interesting and touching mix of modern and ancient ideas, mentioning junked cars and horses, mathematics and moccasins. Some of the text seems deeply personal, even intimate, yet many of the ideas expressed are universal. McDonald's stylized paintings are done in a warm and vibrant palette. Her compositions include symbolic images that swirl across the pages. Sometimes the text appears below the illustrations, sometimes on the opposite page, printed on solid-color backgrounds. The font is small and a little difficult to read when it is printed white on orange or white on olive green. Although in picture-book format, the text is intended to speak to early teens, especially those of Native American heritage.—Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT
Kirkus Reviews
Mvskoke/Creek poet Harjo celebrates the birth of a baby girl and offers guidance for a good life. Images spring from inspirations both natural-"Clouds peered over the mountains / in response to the singing of medicine plants"-and mechanical-"From your mother's house we brought poetry, music . . . and a yard filled with junked cars and the gift of knowing how to make them run." Advice ranges from the ethereal-"When you walk, remember the source of the gift of all walking"-to the practical-"Clean your room." McDonald's jewel-toned paintings (worked on wood panel in watercolor and pastel) swirl with color and play with imagery, effectively matching the poem's tone but often only incompletely illustrating it: Framed in the outline of a crested bird, a sad young woman gazes out, with the silhouettes of branches and raindrops superimposed against a city at night; the text reads, in part, "There are treacherous places along the way, but you can come to us." Visually and verbally lovely, if resolutely abstract-a picture book for teens, not young children. (Picture book. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816527977
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2009
  • Series: Sun Tracks Series, #66
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 677,953
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Joy Harjo (Mvskoke/Creek) is an internationally known poet, writer, and musician. She has published seven books of poetry and the children’s book The Good Luck Cat. With a style characterized by vivid color and large pastel figures, Mercedes McDonald has done work for a variety of commercial clients as well as the children’s book Hello Night/Hola Noche by Amy Costales.

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Customer Reviews

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