Malian's Songby Marge Bruchac, William Maughan
Young Malian lives contentedly with her parents and extended family in an Abenaki village near Montréal in the mid-eighteenth century. One night, Malian’s life changes abruptly. Silently, her father carries her off to the woods, blanket and all, and orders her to run to their tribe’s winter camp. Malian obeys, but not before she turns to watch her
Young Malian lives contentedly with her parents and extended family in an Abenaki village near Montréal in the mid-eighteenth century. One night, Malian’s life changes abruptly. Silently, her father carries her off to the woods, blanket and all, and orders her to run to their tribe’s winter camp. Malian obeys, but not before she turns to watch her father slip back to the village through the trees. She never sees him again.
Malian’s Song is based on the true story of a deliberate attack by English Major Robert Rogers on Québec’s St. Francis Abenaki community in 1759. Malian's account of “Rogers's Raid,” passed down through generations of Abenaki oral tradition, reveals that many Abenaki people survived the attack that destroyed their village, in direct contrast to Rogers’ journal accounts. Jeanne Brink, a descendant of Malian living in Vermont, told the Vermont Folklife Center the little-known Abenaki version of the brutal attack. In this first Abenaki and English picture book, preeminent Abenaki historian Marge Bruchac and illustrator William Maughan portray Malian’s story of a people's strength and fortitude in the face of unspeakable loss.
This story, based on an English attack on the Abenaki in 1759, is notable for relating a lesser-known piece of history passed down through oral storytelling. Before the raid, Malian lives a happy life with her family. All that is destroyed when the English set fire to the entire village and her father is killed. Grief stricken, the girl makes a Lonesome Song. Eventually, the people rebuild, but vow never to forget. The art captures the details of the child's life, including homes, dress, and daily experiences. An afterword describes the event and how it was passed along and "discovered" nearly 200 years later. The story is told by Malian, with the text appearing in boxes over the full-page illustrations. The colors are muted, creating a feeling of reflection. Although the book relates a devastating experience, many of the scenes are peaceful, and the use of the past tense distances readers from the violence. Recommend this to history or English teachers for use in oral-history units.
Cris RiedelCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Meet the Author
MARGE BRUCHAC, Abenaki, is a traditional storyteller and historical consultant to New England museums. Also a professor of Native American Studies, she holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts. She has received three awards from the National Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. WILLIAM MAUGHAN is the illustrator of Spirit of Endurance: The True Story of the Shackleton Expedition to the Antarctic by Jennifer Armstrong (2000) and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron by David Clement-Davies (2002), and is the author of The Artist’s Complete Guide to Drawing the Head. He lives in Napa, California.
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