Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 222

Picture Book: Brother Eagle, Sister Sky: A Message from Chief Seattle

Illustrator: Susan Jeffers

Summary: The central part of this book is a portion of a speech Chief Seattle gave in the mid-1850s while sitting at a table with the Commissioner of Indian Affairs who wanted to purchase the last of Chief Seattle’s native lands for the U.S. government. At the heart of his message is a reverence for the natural world, a hope that this world will be preserved, and a warning that waste of these resources and desecration of that which is beautiful will lead to the end of life.

Hanna’s Comments: In Jeffers introduction, she gives a brief history of Chief Seattle’s ancient people and describes Chief Seattle as being one of the bravest and most respected chiefs of the Northwest Nations. In her Endnote, Jeffers explains that this speech, was given in Chief Seattle’s native tongue. It was transcribed by a friend of the chief’s but translated numerous times. Jeffers too has adapted Chief Seattle’s words for this book. She says here that Chief Seattle’s words now haunt us. Our present environmental concerns, which have become more pressing and complicated since this book’s publication, as well as Jeffers’ striking illustrations here only add to that haunting.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Scholastic, 1991

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Biography, Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, abuse/abuse of power, America, ancestors/patriarchs & matriarchs, animals, awe, beauty, blessings, caring/tending, care of creation, citizenship, consumerism/consumption/riches, creation, dependence/interdependence, diversity, Earth/world, the environment/nature, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, God’s care/providence, God’s presence, gratitude/thanksgiving, greed/selfishness, heritage, heroes, humanity, land/mountains/soil, legends/myths/manna, mentors/teachers, North America, prophesy/prophets, protecting/protection, reverence, treasure, vision, water, wilderness, wisdom  

Scripture Connections: For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7); long ago, at many times in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets (Hebrews 1:1)

Idea(s) for Application: The idea of prophets and prophesies is somewhat foreign to many of us. Chief Seattle and his words here seem like good examples of these concepts, especially when you consider how Chief Seattle’s passions and warnings, like those of the prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures, were largely ignored. Instead, they were remembered after the painful prophesies came true. 

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