Part of the "Native American Histories" series, this book introduces young readers to the Navajos of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Five chapters cover: early history and some traditional beliefs, including the creation and significance of sand paintings; encounters with the Spanish; Navajo relations with U.S. soldiers culminating in the tragic Long Walk; Navajo relations with US officials, missionaries, teachers, traders, and soldiers from 1868 through World War II; and modern issues, including politics, education, and economics. The author tries to present a balanced view of events and issues, although the fairly simple vocabulary and brief length tend to favor a more simplistic approach. For example, in chapter two, while discussing Navajo relations with the Spanish, the author points out the benefits of adopting Spanish horses and sheep, as well as the evils of being enslaved by some of the Spanish. Brief inserts throughout the book feature relevant information on topics such as the girl's coming of age ceremony, Navajo Code Talkers, and famous people like Annie Dodge Wauneka and R. C. Gorman. The many color and black-and-white drawings and photos add to the book's appeal, although a lovely but erroneous photo of a Saguaro cactus at sunset is included, in spite of the fact that saguaros do not grow anywhere near the Navajo Reservations. A craft activity involving making a model Chief Blanket out of construction paper is included. There is also an index, a glossary, bibliography, web site list, and a list of places to visit. Unfortunately, there are no maps. In spite of these flaws, this book could be useful for elementary level reports.
Gr 3-6-Using photos, reproductions, and drawings, these three books briefly describe the history and present-day lives of three Native nations. Each title includes a recipe and a listing of historical and cultural places to visit. Most of the Web sites are official sites of the nations and are not age-appropriate; only one of them has a children's page. Cherokees occasionally oversimplifies, especially with regard to the Indian Removal Act and the Trail of Tears. Navajos includes two poorly reproduced historical photographs. Iroquois is potentially the most confusing since it attempts to explain the Confederacy of the Six Nations. Sometimes the text is not specific about whether the information provided applies to a specific member nation or the whole group. While there is nothing wrong with these books, the corresponding titles in the "Native American Peoples" series (Gareth Stevens) do a better job covering the same material.-S K Joiner, Brazoria County Library System, Angleton, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.