Navajo: Visions and Voices Across the Mesa

Overview

From creation stories to childhood memories, reflections on tribal rituals to the profound effect, good and bad, of white people on Navajo land and culture. A renowned Navajo artist/writer combines the best of his paintings with his rich poetic voice, to give young readers an insightful glimpse into the lives and souls of his people. Full-color illustrations.
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Overview

From creation stories to childhood memories, reflections on tribal rituals to the profound effect, good and bad, of white people on Navajo land and culture. A renowned Navajo artist/writer combines the best of his paintings with his rich poetic voice, to give young readers an insightful glimpse into the lives and souls of his people. Full-color illustrations.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With these heartfelt paintings, poems and memoirs, the noted Navajo artist fulfills his stated goal of taking the reader ``into the corners of my world, the Navajo world.'' Similar in conception to George Littlechild's This Land Is My Land, this book places more emphasis on the traditional and spiritual, its contemporary setting notwithstanding. The sacred intertwines with the everyday; topics here range from storytelling, a solar eclipse and a healing ritual to riding in a truck and attending a tribal fair. Begay also explores the ``constant struggle for balance'' between his two worlds, as in ``Storm Pattern,'' where he recalls his mother gently refusing to introduce images he saw in magazines into her rug weaving, images he now recognizes as corporate logos. Some of the paintings are dappled watercolors like those in Ma'ii and Cousin Horned Toad, others acrylics with thick, dynamic brushstrokes. Whatever the style, each reveals an indimate knowledge of a people in harmony with the land. Ages 9-up. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
By pairing his striking oil paintings with powerful and graceful poetry, Navajo artist Shonto Begay shares many aspects of his life and culture in a very personal way. As explained in the introduction, the twenty paintings and poems cover a wide range of Navajo life, from memories of his past, to rituals, and his feelings about protecting the earth. This beautiful, large-format picture book should appeal to a wide range of readers. An index of the paintings is included.
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Navajo philosophy and an artist's personal experience infuse this collection of paintings and (mostly free) verse. Begay's subjects vary from the sublime (creation, prayer, death, healing) to the mundane (riding in a truck, splashing in the mud after rain). Coyote (Ma'ii) plays a recurrent and significant role here, but Begay's impulse is to note and celebrate, rather than explain, important aspects of his culture. There are lessons to be learned, both cultural and universal, but obliquely. He does not blame the contemporary Anglo world for anything, but it intrudes, in ways often uncomprehending or disharmonious, and must be reckoned with. He chooses, nevertheless, to end his book in a season of hope with a poem called ``Early Spring.'' The two central themes here, beauty and mystery, find natural expression in 20 acrylic paintings. Their stippled surfaces recall pointillist or Impressionist style, but the artist's palette rests on colors rooted to his people: the vermillion of desert earth and the blues of sky, flower, and turquoise. His figures are dignified but not idealized. Powerful and appealing in both word and image, this reflective book should find a wide audience of sympathetic readers.-Patricia (Dooley) Lothrop Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Karen Hutt
Begay, author and illustrator of "Ma'ii and Cousin Horned Toad" (1992), presents a very personal view of contemporary Navajo life in this picture-book collection for older readers. Pairing 20 of his paintings with original poetry, Begay moves from the spiritual aspects of Navajo life through personal childhood memories into striking present-day images, concluding with an affirmation of continuing life and rebirth. Although his poetry especially speaks to the ongoing struggle of living in a "dual society," his paintings are firmly rooted in the Navajo culture. His work is not angry or sentimental; there is an honesty and straightforwardness that allows his readers/viewers insight into his world-view. The variety of images reflects the complexity of life that many contemporary Navajo face. An excellent addition to poetry and art collections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780590461535
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/1995
  • Series: Visions Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.34 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.44 (d)

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