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Looks Like Daylight
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Looks Like Daylight
Voices of Indigenous Kids
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Winner of the Social Justice Literature AwardFor two years, author and activist Deborah Ellis traveled across the United States and Canada, interviewing more than forty Indigenous kids and inviting...
Winner of the Social Justice Literature AwardFor two years, author and activist Deborah Ellis traveled across the United States and Canada, interviewing more than forty Indigenous kids and inviting...
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  • Winner of the Social Justice Literature Award

    For two years, author and activist Deborah Ellis traveled across the United States and Canada, interviewing more than forty Indigenous kids and inviting them to tell their own stories.

    They come from all over the continent — from Iqaluit to Texas, Haida Gwaii to North Carolina. Their stories are sometimes heartbreaking, but more often they are full of pride and hope.

    You'll meet Tingo, who has spent most of his young life living in foster homes and motels, and is now thriving after becoming involved with a Native Friendship Center; Myleka and Tulane, young Navajo artists; Eagleson, who started drinking at age twelve but now continues his family tradition working as a carver in Seattle; Nena, whose Seminole ancestors remained behind in Florida during the Indian Removals, and who is heading to New Mexico as winner of her local science fair; Isabella, who defines herself more as Native than American; Destiny, with a family history of alcoholism and suicide, who is now a writer and pow-wow dancer.

    Deborah briefly introduces each child and then steps back, letting the kids speak directly to the reader. The result is a collection of frank and often surprising interviews with kids aged nine to eighteen, as they talk about their daily lives, about the things that interest them, and about how being Indigenous has affected who they are and how they see the world.

    Key Text Features
    foreword
    annotated resources
    further reading
    photographs
    author's note

    Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.2
    Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.6
    Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.3
    Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.6
    Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed in the text.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.9
    Compare and contrast one author's presentation of events with that of another (e.g., a memoir written by and a biography on the same person).

About the Author-

  • Deborah Ellis is a member of the Order of Canada. She has won the University of California's Middle East Book Award, Sweden's Peter Pan Prize, the Governor General's Award, and the Jane Addams Children's Book Award. She is best known for her Breadwinner series, which has been published in twenty-five languages, with $2 million in royalties donated to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and Street Kids International. deborahellis.com

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 30, 2013
    In an invaluable, eye-opening narrative history, Ellis (the Breadwinner series) presents interviews with dozens of youth ages nine to 18 from among the 565 federally recognized Native tribes in the United States and 617 First Nations communities in Canada. Ellis briefly introduces historical traumas that continue to resonate, from the 1830 Indian Removal Act, attacks on Indigenous language and culture, and the forcible removal of Native children from their homes to government-sponsored, church-run industrial boarding schools. After establishing each setting, Ellis shares the children's first-person stories, which matter-of-factly address the influence of their heritages on their home environments, views, and communities. Valene, an 18-year-old Cree, after describing years of bouncing from home to foster care to crisis center, acknowledges, "My younger siblings can say I love you, but I can't." Fourteen-year-old Danton, a talented Métis musician, says, "We are so lucky to be alive at a time when we are encouraged to be proud of who we are." Unsettling and sad, humorous and inspiring, these collected stories are a testament to the remarkable resilience these children marshal in the face of significant challenges. Ages 12–up.

  • Kirkus

    August 15, 2013
    In distilled interviews, 45 young Native Americans express hope, resilience, optimism--and, rarely, anger--amid frank accounts of families plagued by drug, alcohol and sexual abuse, as well as murder, suicide, extreme poverty, and widespread discrimination, both public and private. The interviewees range in age from 9 to 18 and in locale from the Everglades to Nunavut, Martha's Vineyard to Haida Gwaii. Despite this, likely due to editorial shaping, Ellis' interviewees sound about the same in vocabulary and "voice." Together, they tell a wrenching tale. Many are foster children; several suffer from or have siblings with spectrum disorders and other disabilities; nearly all describe tragic personal or family histories. Moreover, the narratives are shot through with evidence of vicious racial prejudice--not just in the distant past: "My mother works with residential school survivors," tellingly notes Cohen, a Haida teen. Even the youngest, however, display firm tribal identities and knowledge of their collective history and heritage. Also, along with describing typical activities and concerns of modern day-to-day living, these young people embrace their distinctive cultural practices and almost without exception, express a buoyant attitude. As gay Chippewa 16-year-old Zack puts it, "They tried really hard to kill us all off, and we're still here!"--a welcome and necessary reminder to all. (introductory notes, photos, annotated lists of organizations) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    October 1, 2013

    Gr 9 Up-Ellis's commitment to giving voice to young people, especially marginalized or underserved youth, is evident in this collection of interviews with children from various indigenous cultures throughout Canada and the United States. Here, children as young as nine tell stories about their identity and what it means to them to be Native or Aboriginal. Many of the accounts are harrowing to read. Alcoholic parents, lives spent in and out of foster homes, and bigotry and discrimination are an almost daily part of their lives; yet most of the children express hope for a better future for themselves and find ways to immerse themselves in their traditional culture through art, language, dance, and/or connections with community elders. Ellis's transcriptions of these interviews allow the authentic voices of the young people to come through, and brief introductions providing context and, in some cases, historical information, are enormously helpful and insightful. With many of the children dealing with similar issues, stories can begin to feel repetitive and occasionally confusing, hence weakening the impact of some individual tellings, though educators looking to use this book with students will find some real gems to share with groups. The stories are not organized in any discernible manner, neither by age nor affiliation, and the result feels almost random and chaotic. Important and provocative, this is a good choice for libraries wanting to add a contemporary, youthful perspective on issues affecting indigenous people in North America.-Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from November 1, 2013
    Grades 7-12 *Starred Review* In an informative foreword to Ellis's important book, former ALA President Loriene Roy writes, Indigenous peoples are still here. There are, in fact, 3.08 million in the U.S. and 565 federally recognized tribes in Canada. From these, Ellis has interviewed 45 young Native people, aged 9 to 18, and the resulting selections often touch on universal problems for Native youthsuicide, alcohol and drug abuse, poverty, broken families, grief ( We talk a lot about grief, one boy says, because that's been a big part of our lives as Native people ). But the voices also speak about opportunities and accomplishments. Many of these young people are leaders in community centers, and one is an actress. Another is a gifted musician, and still another is a mechanical and software engineer. It's clear, though, that almost all have had to overcome significant societal and cultural challenges. The history of Native and indigenous peoples is one of exploitation, abuse, forced acculturation, and violence. The children in this book have inherited this history, Ellis writes. That they are here at all is a miracle. It's heartening that so many of these young people are positive about their lives, no matter how troubled, and about their futures. We're going to keep moving forward, one boy affirms. Ellis' book is an excellent opportunity for classroom discussion and individual, empathy-inducing reading.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

  • Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books [O]ften simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful...Unflinching and informative, this volume will appeal to a broad range of readers.

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