The People of Twelve Thousand Winters

Overview

Ten-year-old Walking Turtle is of the Lenni Lenape tribe. He lives with his family in a small village alongside the Passaic River in what will become northern New Jersey. They have a relatively peaceful life, with nature offering up a bounty of resources for food and shelter, amply meeting their needs. Walking Turtle is close to his younger cousin, Little Talk. He feels protective of Little Talk, who has difficulty walking. Together they roam the forests near their village, with Walking Turtle carrying his cousin...
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The People of Twelve Thousand Winters

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Overview

Ten-year-old Walking Turtle is of the Lenni Lenape tribe. He lives with his family in a small village alongside the Passaic River in what will become northern New Jersey. They have a relatively peaceful life, with nature offering up a bounty of resources for food and shelter, amply meeting their needs. Walking Turtle is close to his younger cousin, Little Talk. He feels protective of Little Talk, who has difficulty walking. Together they roam the forests near their village, with Walking Turtle carrying his cousin on his back. But in the autumn of Walking Turtle's tenth year, his father tells him that soon he must leave childhood friends behind and begin warrior school. Walking Turtle worries about what will become of Little Talk when he leaves for his training. And what is his future?Trinka Hakes Noble is the award-winning author of numerous picture books, including The Orange Shoes and The Scarlet Stockings Spy. She lives in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
Walking Turtle of the Lenni Lenape lives with his people along the Passaic River in what will one day become the state of New Jersey. He is very kind to his young cousin Little Talk who with his crooked foot depends on Walking Turtle to carry him wherever he goes. Walking Turtle's family lives in a longhouse and while the women and girls gathers wild berries and herbs for cooking his father Soaring Hawk trades beaver pelts and deerskins for things the people need. Walking Turtle explains the Giving Thanks Ceremony held in the Big House that celebrates the Creator and the appearance of White Antler who utters words of praise for all that has been given to them. When Walking Turtle's father tells him that the next winter he must go to the warrior school, Walking Turtle is afraid that he will fail and bring dishonor to his family. It is Little Talk's wise words that assure Walking Turtle that his straight legs, strong back, and kind heart will make him a great leader. This gentle exploration of the culture of an ancient people at one with their world details their daily life while wrapping it all within the story of a young boy on the cusp of manhood. The handsome paintings with a crackle texture capture the beauty of the land and the gentle nature of a proud people. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Walking Turtle and Little Talk are children of the Lenni Lenape, living in an undetermined time in a region now part of New Jersey. They seem wise beyond their years as they convey the way of life and some of the cultural practices of their people. Ten-year-old Walking Turtle explains the relevance of his name. At his naming ceremony his mother was told, "He shall carry his people on his back, as steady and sure as a hard-shelled turtle…." He recounts how he has carried his cousin Little Talk on his back for some years because the younger boy was born with a crooked foot. Their families live together in "a three-fire lodge." Walking Turtle describes the fall gathering of food and the Giving Thanks Ceremony in which the clan celebrates the coming change of season. Just before the evening's festivities, his father explains to him that after the winter he must attend Warrior School. Sad that he will have to leave Little Talk behind, he takes the younger boy up to a rocky overhang where they have a heartening talk about their futures. "Walking Turtle, you are strong. I am giving you back your straight legs, your strong back, and your kind heart to take with you." Nicely painted views of the surrounding terrain, daily activities, and the boys create a good sense of people and place, and the romanticized tale is a pleasant introduction to the Lenni Lenape. The author adds a concluding note about her inspiration for the story.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585365296
  • Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2012
  • Series: Tales of the World
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 632,654
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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