Hands of the Rain Forest: The Embera People of Panama

Hands of the Rain Forest: The Embera People of Panama

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by Rachel Crandell
     
 

The Emberá people of Panama use their hands to turn the gifts of the tropical rain forest into meals and essential daily supplies. Emberá children quickly follow in the steps of their parents. They learn to fish for crabs and carve a canoe from wood. Nothing is wasted in the rain forest--leaves are used to make baskets, the juice of the jagua fruit is

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Overview

The Emberá people of Panama use their hands to turn the gifts of the tropical rain forest into meals and essential daily supplies. Emberá children quickly follow in the steps of their parents. They learn to fish for crabs and carve a canoe from wood. Nothing is wasted in the rain forest--leaves are used to make baskets, the juice of the jagua fruit is applied as a mosquito repellent, and the river provides fresh water for bathing. Through firsthand experience, children are introduced to the lifestyle and traditions of the Emberá culture.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Just as she did in Hands of the Maya: Villagers at Work and Play (2002), Crandell effectively introduces a people contemporary American kids may not (yet) know well. This photo-essay about indigenous people living in neighboring Panama provides a fascinating window into an ancient culture.
Children's Literature - Tiffany Torbeck
Even though the Embera people have settled near the Sambu River in Panama and have adapted to more modern ways of life, they still perform many tasks by hand. This book looks at a day in the life of the Embera people through the work they do with their hands. Hands pound the grains, harvest the plantains, weave baskets, cook, wash, and put the baby to sleep. Vibrant pictures of smiling children attending school, dancing, and working around the house accompany the text and will likely lead to questions about why the girls paint their skin, and why they wear such little clothing. However, the pictures draw the reader into the story and culture; and will do a wonderful job of making this faraway place seem close to home. A drawn map and brief introduction begin the book, and a glossary concludes it. This book would work very well in a multicultural unit in schools and public libraries. Reviewer: Tiffany Torbeck
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4—Beginning with the statement, "Emberá hands are seldom still," Crandell's foreword, accompanied by a colorful map, informs readers how Panama's indigenous people have lived in this area for centuries. On the following pages, clear, colorful photographs and a simple text introduce the lifestyle and traditions of the people. All of the photographs show Emberá hands hard at work fishing, basket weaving, building canoes, and caring for families. An appended glossary includes Emberá vocabulary and pronunciation guides. Body painting is mentioned, but its importance to the culture is never explained. In fact, young readers and listeners may need things clarified throughout the book. Still, with its appealing photos, this volume makes a useful introduction to an unfamiliar culture.—Michele Sealander, Hamburg School, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Grandmother Lenia lifts the heavy pestle to pound the rice, and the rhythm of the day's work begins in a tiny Embera village. As in her previous work, Hands of the Maya: Villagers at Work and Play (2002), Crandell follows the busy hands of the Embera people. Nimble fingers weave palms for a colorful basket, a lightning-quick throw spears a fish and young boys carve a dugout canoe. The rain forest provides the plants and animals, but only the capable hands of the Embera can transform these goods into essentials needed for village life. Short vignettes of expressive text paired with clear, detailed photos create a warm look into this indigenous culture. These hands work hard, play joyfully and definitely hold a lot of love. (map, author's note, glossary) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805079906
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
12/08/2009
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD890L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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