Itse Selu: Cherokee Harvest Festival

Overview

Step back in time for a captivating glimpse of Cherokee life in pre-Columbian North America. Join Little Wolf and his family as they prepare to celebrate Itse Selu, the harvest festival. As night approaches the village, the magic of anticipation fills the air. The luscious feast, Grandfather's storytelling, and the sacred corn dance weave a magical tapestry of tradition.

ITSE SELU celebrates the rich and expressive spirit of the ancient Cherokee culture. The inclusion of ...

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Overview

Step back in time for a captivating glimpse of Cherokee life in pre-Columbian North America. Join Little Wolf and his family as they prepare to celebrate Itse Selu, the harvest festival. As night approaches the village, the magic of anticipation fills the air. The luscious feast, Grandfather's storytelling, and the sacred corn dance weave a magical tapestry of tradition.

ITSE SELU celebrates the rich and expressive spirit of the ancient Cherokee culture. The inclusion of Cherokee vocabulary introduces readers to their language and creates a unique texture. A pronunciation key, alphabet, and glossary are included. The remarkable realism of Don Stewart's illustrations transports us effortlessly to Little Wolf's peaceful world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As adults prepare to celebrate the harvesting of the corn, Little Wolf makes his usual rounds--bathing in the river, checking with his grandmother on the progress of his new moccasins, playing a game called gada yosdi --while anxiously awaiting the start of the festival. Attempting to portray Cherokee life before the advent of the Europeans, Pennington's disjointed, unfocused text is not engrossing, but it does string together a few valuable and engaging bits of Cherokee education and ritual. For example, elders teach Little Wolf and his friend to observe a spider spinning its web before they learn to weave their own fishing nets. Through considerable collaboration with anthropologists and historians, Pennington provides authentic accounts of the feast, a traditional folktale and the sacred corn dance. Stewart's illustrations, while somewhat flat, convey a sense of the characters' peacefulness and contentment. Cherokee vocabulary and pronunciation play large roles in the text--appropriately, given the advanced literacy of the Cherokee nation (a postscript tells of Sequoyah, who singlehandedly devised the written Cherokee language; a syllabary is included). All ages. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
One of a growing number of books for the ethnic market, Itse Selu ("green corn") describes one special festival day in the life of a young eastern Cherokee boy. Basic Cherokee words are explained and interwoven with the text, which also includes an interesting variation on the classic southern "Tarbaby" story. An Afterword on Sequoyah and his Cherokee Syllabary is useful.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-The elements of the long-ago Cherokee harvest festival (Itse Selu) are presented in a fictionalized format as readers follow a young boy's experiences on the last day. The concept of the Green Corn Festival as a time of thanksgiving and renewal is made clear. However, the setting of the story-pre-Columbian North Carolina-is a mystery unless one reads the back cover of the book. Stewart's full-page, full-color illustrations depict realistic children set against backgrounds done in vibrant woodland greens and browns. Several Cherokee words are introduced, with pronunciations, within the warm, simple story. This title provides an accessible and interesting vignette of Native American life before the coming of the Europeans, and as such could serve as an introduction to further reading or study on the subject.-M. Colleen McDougall, Kayenta Boarding School, AZ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780881068504
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/1994
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,372,401
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 550L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.19 (w) x 8.08 (h) x 0.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Pennington is a descendant of the Cherokee tribe. Growing up in rural Tennessee, Daniel learned little of his roots. He began his writing career after he tried to find books for his young daughter on Native American culture and what it means to be a Cherokee. His search for an accurate and unbiased portrayal of cultural traditions was disappointing, so he decided to research and write his own book.

Daniel researched his first book, ITSE SELU: CHEROKEE HARVEST FESTIVAL, extensively. Before the book was published, he sent it to 30 different sources, including an archivist from the Museum of the Cherokee, the deputy principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, and the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian to affirm its accuracy and authenticity. Daniel and his family currently live in Massachusetts.

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