Review of Children of the First People: Fresh Voices of Alaska's Native Kids

Children of the First People: Fresh Voices of Alaska’s Native Kids
by Tricia Brown; photos by Roy Corral
Intermediate, Middle School    Alaska Northwest    48 pp.    g
4/19    Paper ed.  978-1-5132-6197-3    $13.99

Twenty years after Children of the Midnight Sun (rev. 7/98), Brown and Corral present ten additional portraits of contemporary Alaska Native children, each from a different Indigenous culture and “whose ancestors have lived here for 10,000 years.” A useful opening map of “Alaska Native Homelands” and “Introduction: A New Generation Speaks” help situate readers geographically and provide historical context. Each child receives two double-page spreads telling about his or her daily life and culture. We first meet Tyler Kramer, a ten-year-old Iñupiaq boy. He lives above the Arctic Circle, hunts for food with his family, stars in social media videos (“The Life of Ty”), and enjoys playing both the centuries-old one-foot kick game and basketball. The book (by a non–Alaska Native team) is strongest when centering the voices of the ten featured young people and their family members. Clear photographs of people, places, flora, and fauna enliven the workmanlike main text. A glossary is appended.

From the July/August 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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