Walking on Earth and Touching the Sky: Poetry and Prose by Lakota Youth at Red Cloud Indian School

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Overview

This is an exceptional poetry collection written by Lakota students in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The historic school was founded in 1888 at the request of Chief Red Cloud of the Oglala Lakota. The poems enable readers to learn about the unique lives and heritage of students growing up in such distinctive circumstances and straddling cultures. The collection was compiled by a teacher at the school, working with ...
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Overview

This is an exceptional poetry collection written by Lakota students in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The historic school was founded in 1888 at the request of Chief Red Cloud of the Oglala Lakota. The poems enable readers to learn about the unique lives and heritage of students growing up in such distinctive circumstances and straddling cultures. The collection was compiled by a teacher at the school, working with school administrators, and contains never-before-published artworks by award-winning artist S. D. Nelson.

Praise for Walking on Earth and Touching the Sky

STARRED REVIEW
"This is an important collection that offers opportunities for insight into a culture that has too often been either ignored or misunderstood."
--Booklist, starred review

"A moving, fascinating glimpse across cultures. Vivid, polychromatic illustrations by Nelson accompany the students’ evocative works."
--Kirkus Reviews

"As a collection, the poems present an interesting, eye-opening look at the Lakota culture, which is one that is often overlooked. The paintings by S.D. Nelson are gorgeous and vibrant."
--Library Media Connection

Awards:
New York Public Library’s Children's Books 2012: 100 Books for Reading and Sharing list
HONORABLE MENTION - 2012 Aesop Accolade, American Folklore Society
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Poet and teacher McLaughlin, after gradually connecting with his students at Red Cloud Indian School, provided them with creative-writing prompts that yielded sometimes-magical outcomes. The Lakota people live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Shannon County, S.D., the second-poorest county in the country. An introduction depicts harsh conditions of high unemployment, poverty, disease and alcohol and drug abuse but also describes the strong cultural legacy of vibrant Lakota tales and the close ties among people. All of this is infused into the poems and brief tales of this anthology of work by children in grades five through eight. The pieces are divided into small thematic groupings. These include obvious ones like "The Natural World" and "Family, Youth, and Dreams," but also unexpected ones like "Misery" and "Silence." Kayla Matthews movingly describes in free verse the heartache "when you always seem to be getting dressed in black to go to a funeral" and is echoed by Derrick McCauley: "Silence is when I saw my mom for the last time." Others are more upbeat: "Silence is the darkness of night when the moon shines bright and pine trees make the only sound," writes Isaac Red Owl. Vivid, polychromatic illustrations by Nelson accompany the students' evocative works. A moving, fascinating glimpse across cultures, perfect to pair with Trickster (2010) by Matt Dembicki. (Anthology. 11 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781419701795
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2012
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 423,327
  • Age range: 8 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Timothy P. McLaughlin teaches Native American youths in schools. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. S. D. Nelson is Lakota and is the author of three previous children’s books for Abrams, including Black Elk’s Vision, an ALA Notable Book. Joseph M. Marshall III is a Lakota actor and writer.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 5, 2012

    Very sweet collection

    This book would make a great coffee table piece, as well as an excellent addition to a poetry collection. It’s heartfelt and real. These kids are offering up their hearts and souls to the readers of this book. The least we can do is give them a chance to express themselves.

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