Posts tagged ‘Native Americans’

SITTING ROUND THE CAMPFIRE

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL THE DADS OUT THERE….This one is dedicated to my dad, who loved to tell stories.

The American StoryBag: A Collection of Tales

Written by Gerald Hausman

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This author has been collecting stories since 1965. He loved to listen to stories which he scribbled down and later retold on paper. These tales focus on every aspect of American life. As I was reading them, I had the distinct feeling that I was sitting around a campfire listening to a storytelling master. Hausman has won numerous awards for his yarns, which speak of ghosts, demons, fantasy, humor, truths, and everyday life.

The author divides his tales into sections like Heroes, On the Road, Humor, Reflections, Out of this World, Moments of Truth, and Yarns. He has been compared to Mark Twain. The reader feels as if he is there in the story. Some stories will inspire you like the tale about an autistic child who survived a struggle in the swamp, some of them portray the legends of Native Americans as in The Horse of the Navajo or the bravery of a father and son in A Real Life Goliath.

The Discussion Questions that Hausman suggests are a wonderful beginning for students or book groups to use as a jumping off point for further exploration of the subject matter in individual stories. These questions could also be the basis of interesting essays on many topics. Teachers might want to use them in connection with other curriculum areas. The questions also assist in understanding the deeper layers of culture surrounding them. Finally, the author interview included at the end of the collection provides insight into why the author is so successful as a storyteller, lecturer and writer.

Recommended for readers age eight and older, all those who love to tell stories or listen to them!

THE POWER OF LOVE

Lou and Jigger:True Love is Inseparable

Written by Geryn Childress
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This short story packs a powerful punch in a kindle book of approximately twenty-five pages. The characters are well developed, the plot carefully laid out, and the historical background deftly woven into the story. Childress skillfully portrays the beautiful love shared by Lou and Jigger as well as the ugly prejudice, family tensions, and hardship of living in a poor family down South in the 1900’s.

Luella’s parents move the family from Michigan to Shreveport because her mother believes her children will have a better life in the rural South, but Shreveport in the 80’s was still segregated and blacks found it difficult to make a living. Lou’s father made a living by “junkin”, finding garbage and fixing things to sell as useful items. He also built wells. Both parents worked long hours so the children spent most of their time with Mama Rosie on her small farm. Mama was a grandmother figure who had many interesting friends. Jimmy the wino came to buy her moonshine; Squala, a Native American squatter periodically came to sleep in the abandoned Chevelle on the property. Even though he could not speak English; Squala and Lou communicated by hand gestures and became best friends.

Lou falls in love with a boy named Jigger, but her grandfather Ebe hated him. Jigger and Lou eventually run off to Missouri. When they return, Lou’s father continues the feud and has Jigger framed for a crime. The story traces their lives into their nineties when members of the family succeed in placing Lou and Jigger in separate nursing homes. When descendants Ruby and Sonny decide to move to the area and take over Lou and Jigger’s now abandoned house, the story takes a most interesting turn.

Childress provides the reader with wonderful photographs of his characters which adds to the authentic flavor of the historical romance. This book is very different from modern romances. I would recommend it for ages twelve and up. Classroom teachers might find it a useful addition to teaching about the period. This well written short story will appeal to readers interested in history, romance, psychology and memoirs.

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A WALK THROUGH TIME

A Rainbow of Thanks

Written by Kathleen J. Shields

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Kate Silverton is an eleven year old about to celebrate her birthday. Her teacher Mrs. Guffey, who she likes to call Mrs. Tuffey, has given them a weekend homework assignment to write about another culture. After being disappointed by her relative’s birthday gifts, Kate heads out to the backyard with her backpack. Suddenly, it begins to rain and she takes refuge. When the rain stops, Kate is surprised to find a rainbow which she walks through. On the other side, she meets a Navajo boy named Little Elk who is sitting on a rock in Arizona during “the week of silence.” He asks her where she came from explaining that Navajos believe the God travels on a rainbow and that a rainbow is a bridge between the human world and the other side. Rainbows also carry heroes between earth and heaven. Kate is mystified; she informs the boy that she is simply an American from Ohio who walked through a rainbow to the other side. How did she get to Arizona? Realizing that she must walk back through the rainbow to the other side before it disappears, Kate pulls out the walkman  radio from her backpack and gives it as a gift to Little Elk to ease his time of silence.

Things get even stranger when Kate emerges from the rainbow in the jungle listening to the sound of elephants and seeing a little girl named Chicktow who is searching the ground for grubs to eat. Kate is now in Victoria Falls. She presents her new friend with some oatmeal cookies stamped with Kate’s name and address labels. Kate descends with her friend to the bottom of the Falls where they locate the remnants of the rainbow. Chicktow  tells her that the rainbow arch frames the Queen of Heaven. Kate quickly steps into the arch.

Kate is disappointed to find herself in Dublin, Ireland when she emerges. The Flanagan boys greet her. In Ireland the rainbow is considered the hem of God’s garments. They tell her that leprechauns believe there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but all Kate wants is to return to Ohio. She presents them with the old video player she received as a gift before she departs. Kate must still journey to Germany, Russia, Polynesia, Croatia and Scotland before she lands back in the United States. In California, she meets a medicine man of the Mojave who tells her that the rainbow is a charm the Creator uses to stop a rain storm. Finally, she walks through the rainbow one hour later to find herself at home in Ohio.

Wow! What a journey! Kate writes her report immediately before she forgets her adventure. Her mother is puzzled by her strange behavior. Mrs. Guffey gives her an A on her report, but asks why she did not choose one culture. The next week, Kate draws a stunning, accurate portrait so real that her teacher goes to her home for a talk with Mrs. Silverton because she fears that Kate is delusional.

How will Kate prove her story? A mysterious visitor will provide the answer.

This e book is available on Smashwords. A paperback version can now be found on amazon. Recommended for children ages eight and up, but adults will love it as well.

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