The Ledgerbook of Thomas Blue Eagle by Jewel Grutman and Gay Matthael. il by Adam Cvijanovic.
Lickle Publishing Inc: Palm Beach, FL, 2001.
Originally by Thomasson Grant, 1994.

The thing that attracted me to the book and still captures my attention the most is the beautiful drawings: vibrant colors, meticulous detail, and spirit and emotion conveyed.

Once I started reading though, I was entranced by the powerful feeling in the relating of events. The telling is simple and straightforward, but the Native American experience during the United States expansion is captured eloquently.

I was surprised at how much historical content is portrayed in this succinct story. The characters are not historical people, nor does this mostly deal with specific events. It is more a typical way of life for the people and typical treatment of them.

In keeping with the idea of a ledgerbook that a student at the Carlisle Indian School (a school for educating Indians in the American culture) might have written, the style of the drawings is pictographs. In transitioning from one language to the other, the students were encouraged to draw to help depict their stories, their thoughts. They used pictographs, copying the style of the art in their culture. As they learned English, they wrote captions to explain the pictures.

The fictional journal writer records his experiences - what happened to his people, how he came to be at the school, experiences at the school, and thoughts about others and his future. His telling is a nicely rendered historical description of Native American children who were sent to be assimilated into the White Man's world.

related-Dakota Indians, Dakota artists, Dakota literature, United States Indian School, Carlisle, PA, history, languages and communication, assimilation, education, journals
RL=1st-2nd, use for Social Studies through 5th grade

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