Review: Sitting Bull Remembers

Posted by on 11.07.07 | 1 Comment
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Sitting Bull Remembers

Ann Turner, blogger on the Virtual Tea House, has created another wonderful children’s book, Sitting Bull Remembers, illustrated by Wendell Minor. It takes the life of Sitting Bull from the end and works backwards, from his memories. “In this dark room, in this place of fences, strange smells, and men with yellow eyes where finally I am caught and cannot get free, I close my eyes and am home again.”

Soulfully written, the book takes us quickly into the feeling of Sitting Bull’s view of the world. I had the privilege of reading the book to 3 young boys (ages 4, 6 and 8) a week or so ago. They really liked the illustrations, and that it is about ‘a real person’. They were very quiet during the reading of it, wanting to see the pictures in detail. Afterwards, as we talked about how linked the Plains Indians were to the buffalo, and how ruthlessly the buffalo were destroyed, in part to destroy the balance of the Sioux’s life cycle, there was sadness in their eyes. We talked about how our (anglo) ancestors were oblivious to what we were destroying, and that our job now is to not allow ourselves to be blind and deaf, to not continue the same mistakes. They took this in, and with gusto then wanted to talk about what that might mean to them. The boys liked the reference on the last pages to how the Sitting bull, the medicine man or Wikasa Wakan would hear the voice of ancestors in the meadowlark’s song.

The book is remarkable. I found the sadness and the courage of Sitting Bull lingering with me for days after reading it with the boys. It is a thoughtful holiday gift. The message is potent and resounding for our current world situation. The beauty of the book is that it can reach children’s hearts, and touch adults’ minds and wills at the same time.

For more info about Ann’s many children’s books: www.annturnerbooks.com

Beth, VTH Host

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