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Children's LiteratureThe American Indians remain among our country's most forgotten peoples. Although they are true Native Americans, living here when European settlers first arrived, most of us know little about their history, customs and traditions. This book, one of the publisher's ten title series about Indians called "America's First Peoples," is an admirable attempt to address this knowledge gap. The book details the Navajo Indians, who today live primarily in the Four Corners area of the southwest, where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet. The author focuses on the Navajos' tradition of weaving, which is inextricably linked to the Navajos' expertise as sheep farmers. There is much here to interest young readers — eye-catching graphics and sidebars, derivation of the name Navajo, and explanation of the legend of Spider Woman, who used her loom to teach Navajos how to weave. There is also an informative, short discussion of the Long Walk, when in 1863 the U.S. Army led by Kit Carson forced 8,000 Navajos to walk 300 miles from their ancestral homes to Redondo, New Mexico at gun point. Navajo Code Talkers, who used their language to create an unbreakable code during World War II, are also honored here. With obvious care for her subject, the author has crafted an excellent book that will be an ideal addition to any library. 2004, Blue Earth Books/Capstone Press, Ages 7 to 10.
— Bruce Adelson, J.D.