Tuesday, July 24, 2007

30. Sequoyah by James Rumford

Nonfiction book annotation
By: Angela Wilcox

32 pages

Rumford, J. (2004). Sequoyah: The Cherokee man who gave his people writing. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Author Creditability: Rumford has studied more than a dozen languages and has worked in the Peace Corps. While working on this book he drew on these experiences as well as the history of Sequoyah. Anna Sixkiller Huckaby, a language training coordinator for the Cherokee Nation Cultural Resource Center helped him write this book. She is a full-blood Cherokee with a history of being involved with the Cherokee culture and language. She has taught the Cherokee language for many years and has been named a Cherokee Living National Treasure for her work in basket making. She helped Rumford write this book and translated it into the Cherokee language.

Summary: This book is a poem of Sequoyah a man who wanted to teach the Cherokee Indians a writing system so they could be a nation of readers and writers. This captures the painful obstacles that Sequoyah had to overcome in order to develop this beautiful written language for his people. Under the English text, Anna Sixkiller Huckaby has illustrated this beautiful language for us by translating the text into the Cherokee written language.
Most Important Access Features: This book contains the Cherokee written language under the English text. The illustrations are labeled in Cherokee, which are translated into English on the verso page. There is a chart of the syllables used to write the words in the Cherokee language. At the end of the book is a timeline of Sequoyah’s life.

Description of Illustrations: According to the book “The illustrations in this book were done with ink, watercolor, pastel, and pencil on drawing paper adhered to a rough piece of wood, the texture of which was brought out with each pass of chalk and colored pencil.”

Grade Level & Uses: Grades 1-4; This book could be used to teach about the Cherokee Indians along with how people had to come up with our writing system.
Standards: Culture; Time, Continuity, and Change; People, Places, and Environments; Individual Development an Identity.
Related Texts & How Related: These books could be used along with Sequoyah to discuss the Cherokee Indians.

If You Lived With the Cherokees by Peter and Connie Roop
Cherokee (Native American Peoples) by D. L. Birchfield
Soft Rain: A Story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears by Cornelia Cornelissen

The Robert F. Sibert Honor Book
Personal Response to Book: I was not sure that I was going to enjoy or be interested in this book, but I ended up liking it. It was very interesting how Sequoyah handled others who were trying to discourage him and he kept trying. I also enjoyed being able to actually see what the Cherokee language looks like and compare it to our English text.

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