Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Review: Siha Tooskin Knows Series

Title: Siha Tooskin Knows the Gifts of His People
Author: Charlene Bearhead & Wilson Bearhead
Illustrator: Chloe Bluebird Mustooch
Publisher: HighWater Press
Pages: 24
Review copy: Digital ARC via Netgalley
Availability: May 26, 2020

Summary: Transportation, housing, agriculture, communications…there are so many modern conveniences. But are they really modern? Where did they really come from?
Paul Wahasaypa—Siha Tooskin—will learn about their origins and more on his walk home from school with Ade (his father). There’s so much to learn about the earliest forms of technology, travel, medicine, and food from right here on Turtle Island. Come along with Paul and Ade to hear all about the gifts of his people.

The Siha Tooskin Knows series uses vivid narratives and dazzling illustrations in contemporary settings to share stories about an 11-year-old Nakota boy.

Review: This is a wonderful book. Siha Tooskin has been asked to bring a food from his cultural background. This leads to a conversation about the indigenous foods that preceded European contact and remain. Talking about things that the Nakota people have had and done over the years leads to a discussion about the many things people have mistakenly believed are new that Indigenous people have been doing in different places around what is now called North America for thousands of years.

Siha Tooskin even learns about the way that Nakota people have been educating their children over time. Rather than a story with a problem and solution, this follows a conversation between father and son. It is definitely interesting and has a warm family feeling to it.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book for anyone, but especially those teaching history and changes over time. This book shows some of the ways Native and colonial practices have affected each group. There's a lot of content in these few pages that can lead to great discussions. Highly recommended for elementary age readers and their teachers or families.

Title: Siha Tooskin Knows the Catcher of Dreams
Author: Charlene Bearhead & Wilson Bearhead
Illustrator: Chloe Bluebird Mustooch
Publisher: HighWater Press
Pages: 32
Review copy: Digital ARC via Netgalley
Availability: May 26, 2020

Summary: Siha Tooskin (Paul) takes his expert bike riding to a whole new level to make sure he doesn't miss a thing. At home, Mugoshin (his grandmother) is creating a very special gift to protect the precious little one. Join Paul as he enjoys delicious bannock, imagines the future of a new baby sister, and listens to Mugoshin’s teachings about the catcher of dreams.

The Siha Tooskin Knows series uses vivid narratives and dazzling illustrations in contemporary settings to share stories about an 11-year-old Nakota boy.

Review: This is another lovely story filled with family love. Siha Tooskin's personality can be seen in this story. He is a storyteller himself and has a sense of humor. He's also extremely excited to have a new baby sister. His dreams for her include some of the gender specific things that his mother and grandmother will pass down, but he also sees possibilities for her future that go beyond typical gender expectations. Within this story readers also get to hear about how the dream catchers came to be and how they work to offer protection to the dreamers. As with the other Siha Tooskin book, this one also includes mentions of residential schools and some of the hard truths about Canadian history that are finally being taught about in schools. That's not the point of the book, but it's acknowledged.

Recommendation: Dream catchers and images of them are found in many kinds of media and are even on t-shirts and jewelry or hanging in cars on mirrors. For those who do not know the significance of dream catchers, this would be a very helpful book to read. For readers aware of them, it will also be a validation of what they already know. I look forward to having this available in our school library and believe this series is a must for any library serving young people. 

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