Written in Stone

Overview

   Rosanne Parry author of Heart of a Shepherd, shines a light on Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest in the 1920s, a time of critical cultural upheaval.

   Pearl has always dreamed of hunting whales, just like her father. Of taking to the sea in their eight-man canoe, standing at the prow with a harpoon, and waiting for a whale to lift its barnacle-speckled head as it offers its life for the life of the tribe. But now that can never be. Pearl's father was lost on the ...

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Written in Stone

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Overview

   Rosanne Parry author of Heart of a Shepherd, shines a light on Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest in the 1920s, a time of critical cultural upheaval.

   Pearl has always dreamed of hunting whales, just like her father. Of taking to the sea in their eight-man canoe, standing at the prow with a harpoon, and waiting for a whale to lift its barnacle-speckled head as it offers its life for the life of the tribe. But now that can never be. Pearl's father was lost on the last hunt, and the whales hide from the great steam-powered ships carrying harpoon cannons, which harvest not one but dozens of whales from the ocean. With the whales gone, Pearl's people, the Makah, struggle to survive as Pearl searches for ways to preserve their stories and skills.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
NYPL 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing Selection

"This vivid, character-driven historical novel captivates." Kirkus Reviews

"Realistic and insightful, Parry’s novel succeeds in depicting a picture of one girl’s experience to preserve her people’s dignity and values in a rapidly changing modern world." School Library Journal

"Parry shows respect and restraint in bringing their traditional ways of life to the page. Skillfully using dialogue and sensory details to portray people and places, she creates a strong sense of Pearl’s individuality and of her people’s struggle." Booklist

"Parry successfully melds Pearl’s quieter coming-of-age story with a faster-paced mystery plot concerning the true agenda of “art collector” Arthur Glen and the efforts of the Makah teens to thwart his predatory activities. Framing chapters focused on Pearl in her old age assure readers that the tribal knowledge and customs are endangered but not extinct, and closing notes address historical background and respect for maintaining the secrecy of certain stories and rituals." The Bulletin

"While unveiling a dark corner of history during a period when imperialism and the exploitation of Native Americans ran rampant, Parry, a former teacher at a Quinault reservation, beautifully conveys universal and historical themes. Readers will relate to Pearl’s internal conflicts as she rebels against traditional women’s roles yet clings to what she knows and loves." Publishers Weekly

Children's Literature - Anita Lock
May 1999. Eighty-nine-year-old Pearl Carver, the daughter of a great whaler from the Makah tribe, is about to experience an historic moment that evokes childhood memories of her struggle to save her people from extinction. Pearl reminisces, telling what life was like back in 1923 when she was thirteen years of age. Always full of ideas like her papa, Pearl wanted to be a whaler. However, her tribal traditions disallowed women this type of role, but that didn't stop her from secretly practicing harpooning logs on the beach while awaiting the return of papa's eight-manned whaling boat. As she spotted the boat and saw that only seven were aboard and there was no whale, happiness quickly turned to horror as she realized that papa, the great whaler, was lost at sea. The truth of what happened that day, as the tribal leaders soon discovered, was that Japanese, U.S., and Russian ships destroyed the lifeblood of Pearl's tribe. As a result, whale hunting came to a sudden halt. It was only five years earlier when Pearl lost mama and her baby sister to influenza. Now with no immediate family, she felt that her heritage and status as the daughter of a great whaler from her tribe were lost, too. Keeping the memory of her family alive was important to her. Unfortunately, the only tangible memory she had was an abalone shell from mama's button blanket, and she had nothing from papa. However, to keep papa's memory alive, she would have to come up with a plan to steal from his regalia, which would be given away during papa's potlatch (a distinctive custom to mark an important event). Pearl also wanted to keep her parent's traditions alive, but was uncertain as to how to go about that task. Troubled, Pearl was in need of direction; taking note of her emotional condition, her aunt and grandma arranged for her to learn basket weaving from grandma's people, the Quinaults. Pearl adamantly refused, determined that she would learn how to weave like her mama once did. However, in the process of learning this craft, word came to the village that a "museum man" was planning to visit them to purchase merchandise, which would be a means of income for the tribe. But upon meeting this Museum Man, as he was called, Pearl and her cousin, Henry, sensed something fishy about him and began making plans to find out the truth behind his visit. As the cousins gathered clues, it was Pearl who finally discovered his sinister plot. Recognizing that this plot was far greater than her interest in stealing papa's regalia, Pearl had to alert the surrounding tribes of the Olympia Peninsula. However, as she sought a solution, Susi, Pearl's favorite aunt, reminded Pearl that though her tribal status may have been lost, she still had powerful ideas to share with her people. But she would need courage, like her papa once had, to do so. Following Susi's advice, Pearl came up with a plan, and as she explains at the close of her story, it was truly life changing. Much praise goes to award-winning author Rosanne Parry, who has taken her talents and used them to breathe life into a Native American story that has been silenced for much too long. There is no doubt in my mind that this incredible work of historical fiction should not only be a part of your personal book collection, but a vital addition to classroom reading lists. Reviewer: Anita Lock
Publishers Weekly
Paying tribute to the fortitude of Northern Native American tribes, Parry (Second Fiddle) creates a vivid novel tracing a Makah orphan girl’s coming of age during the early 1920s. At one time, 13-year-old Pearl held an esteemed position in her tribe as the daughter of “the best whaler of the Makah” and a master weaver. Now, Pearl’s parents are dead, and she is uncertain about her position in the world. She considers leaving home to work in the city like many struggling natives, including her independent-minded cousin. It isn’t until a white stranger threatens to trick local tribes out of their oil-rich land that Pearl realizes her need to preserve her people’s traditions and, especially, their stories. While unveiling a dark corner of history during a period when imperialism and the exploitation of Native Americans ran rampant, Perry, a former teacher at a Quinault reservation, beautifully conveys universal and historical themes. Readers will relate to Pearl’s internal conflicts as she rebels against traditional women’s roles yet clings to what she knows and loves. Ages 9–12. Agent: Stephen Fraser, Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Parry blends Native American folklore and culture with historical fiction to portray a 13-year-old girl who tries to remain true to the ways of her Makah tribe. Pearl's mother and baby sister died in the flu pandemic of 1918; five years later, her father loses his life on a whaling expedition, leaving her an orphan. She strives for ways to make a sustainable living while preserving her Pacific Northwest tribe's traditional practices of working with the land and its resources. Pearl's dream of becoming a whaler like her father is unrealistic, both because women are not allowed to hunt whales and because the whale population is rapidly diminishing. When an art collector approaches the tribe to purchase cultural artifacts for a museum, Pearl is suspicious. She uncovers his true agenda: he wants to tap the community's natural energy resources to the detriment of her people's livelihood. Realistic and insightful, Parry's novel succeeds in depicting a picture of one girl's experience to preserve her people's dignity and values in a rapidly changing modern world.—Rita Soltan, Youth Services Consultant, West Bloomfield, MI
Kirkus Reviews
Five years after her mother and baby sister die in the 1918 flu pandemic, Pearl's father is lost in the last Makah whale hunt. Pearl, 13, is determined to create a future for herself that honors her distinguished heritage; still, her extended family's unaccustomed financial hardship and loss of status stings. The New York collector interested in their masks and carvings might offer a way out, but does he have a secret agenda? Pearl's loving extended family supports her (the Makah have no word for orphan), but her mother's skill at weaving and the dances and teachings she'd have given Pearl are gone forever. For guidance, Pearl turns to independent Aunt Susi, who drives a car and works for the post office, and her grandmother, who encourages Pearl's talent for language. "When you write a word down, you own that word forever," she says. However, becoming an adult is fundamentally a solitary journey; shipwrecked on a wild beach, Pearl begins hers. Stubborn, determined and resourceful, she's good company. Parry, who taught school on the Quinault Indian reservation (neighbors of the Makah), writes with respect and affection for the people of the Washington coast, suggesting without didacticism what their right to hunt whales means to the Makah people. This vivid, character-driven historical novel captivates. (map, bibliography, glossary, author's note) (Historical fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375871351
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 6/10/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 785,449
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 5.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

   ROSANNE PARRY spent her first years as a teacher in Taholah, Washington, on the Quinault Indian Reservation. There she learned to love the taste of alder-smoked, blueback salmon, the wind and the cold mists of the rain forest, the sounds of the ocean and the eagles, and the rhythm of a life that revolved around not the clock and the calendar, but the cycle of the salmon running up the river and returning to the ocean. While there she never met a child who could not tell her a story—usually one that included a monster of epic proportions. The writer she became had everything to do with the people she came to cherish and the land between the Pacific and the Olympic Mountains where stories seemed to grow out of the earth all around her, tall and sturdy as cedars. To learn more, please visit RosanneParry.com.

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