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The First Americans: The Story of Where They Came From and Who They Became
     

The First Americans: The Story of Where They Came From and Who They Became

by Anthony Aveni, S.D. Nelson (Illustrator)
 

The absorbing story of the first people to set foot in North America and the many cultures of their descendants.

For thousands of years nomadic people from east Asia followed caribou walking east. Sometime around 20,000 BCE, they crossed the land bridge into North America. These waves of people are the ancestors to every culture on the continent. Tony Aveni,

Overview


The absorbing story of the first people to set foot in North America and the many cultures of their descendants.

For thousands of years nomadic people from east Asia followed caribou walking east. Sometime around 20,000 BCE, they crossed the land bridge into North America. These waves of people are the ancestors to every culture on the continent. Tony Aveni, whose expertise is the scientific, mathematical, and cultural accomplishments of the first Americans, celebrates the disparate cultures by highlighting one or two from each region of the country: the Taino, the Iroquois, the Adena, the Anasazi, the Kwakiutl, and the Timucua.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA
Tracing the migration of Asian peoples 20,000 years ago into the Americas, Aveni describes with many exclamation points how and where six distinct cultures developed. Shelter, clothing, religion, gender roles, and recreation are described for several tribes in each region. Opening with a second-person point of view, the writing gallops along and changes viewpoint and tense several times in an effort that might engage some readers but confuse others. Aveni weaves in information about carbon dating, archaeology, and astronomy, but there is no discussion of the ethics of digging at sacred burial sites, and the photograph of a spirit mask is sacrilegious. No source notes are provided. Instead of a bibliography or further reading, a list of places to visit such as archaeological sites and museums is appended, along with three Web sites listing museum links, including the Multnomah County Library, Oregon, homework help Web site. Photo credits are extensive, and the illustrations are painterly and authentic. A map on the front endpapers does not indicate location for all of the tribes/groups mentioned in the work. A time line on the rear endpapers is excellent. The archaeoastronomist author is not native, although the illustrator is; the book has not been endorsed by any tribe or Native American organization. The work appears free from bias, acknowledges the many contributions of native Peoples to current culture, names historical figures, and corrects longstanding ideas that Native Americans were simple or primitive peoples, while glossing over atrocities such as the fact that one in ten Native Americans were killed by diseases brought by European conquerors. The scope of this book does notagree with the title. Depictions of Native Americans today are completely lacking, and South America and Canada are barely mentioned. This historical overview may be workable for classes focusing solely on the United States, but should be supplemented with titles from the Young Native Americans Today series from Beyond Words Publishing. VOYA CODES: 2Q 3P M J (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2005, Scholastic, 128p.; Index. Photos. Maps. Chronology., Ages 11 to 15.
—Beth Gallaway
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Aveni mixes anthropology and archaeology to describe seven early cultures. The book opens some 20,000 years ago in Beringia (the now-submerged land between Siberia and Alaska) and attempts to assemble evidence that "all points to one basic conclusion: The native tribes of North and South America-all descended from those-who crossed the land bridge from Asia to discover America." This is by no means a universally accepted thesis, and is made in the face of the author's own passing acknowledgement of the possibility of a sea route. Succeeding chapters, liberally illustrated with full-color paintings and photos, cover the food, dress, social organization, and religion of the Ta'no; League of the Iroquois; the Ohio Moundbuilders; the Anasazi; the Kwakiutl, Tlingit, and Haida; the Timucua; and the Mississippian pyramid city of Cahokia. A final chapter details the branches of science involved in putting the puzzle pieces of origins together and explains the methods used to determine age. The layout is attractive, but the photos are not always clear. Also, the organization can be problematic, with special-topic pages inserted in the middle of continuing text and inconsistent phonetic pronunciations. The strength of the book is the author's style and enthusiasm. This is an intriguing account, but the author's insistence on a single route of migration seems a misleading representation of current thought. Patricia Lauber's Who Came First? (National Geographic, 2003) questions the limited-to-the-land-bridge idea, but does not go into detailed cultural descriptions. Buy if interest warrants and if you have other titles to balance the approach.-Nancy Palmer, The Little School, Bellevue, WA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439551441
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
10/28/2005
Pages:
125
Product dimensions:
8.75(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.27(d)
Lexile:
1080L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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