Joseph Bruchac, Cynthia Leitich Smith to Chat with readergirlz Tonight

“In celebration of Native American and Alaskan Native Heritage Month, Joseph Bruchac and Cynthia Leitich Smith will chat online at the readergirlz forum at MySpace at 6 p.m. PDT, 7 p.m. MDT, 8 p.m. CDT, 9 p.m. EDT Nov. 6.”

From Harcourt: “Joseph Bruchac has written more than 60 books for children and adults, and received many literary awards, including the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas.” Read a Cynsations interview with Joe.

My teen/tween fiction with Native themes includes Rain Is Not My Indian Name (HarperCollins, 2001) and “A Real Live Blond Cherokee and His Equally Annoyed Soul Mate” from Moccasin Thunder: Native American Stories for Today, edited by Lori Marie Carlson (HarperCollins, 2005)(anthologist interview).

Cynsational Notes

Teachers/Librarians: please keep in mind the importance of including contemporary images of Native people. Please highlight Native contributions across the curriculum (not just related to history/culture, but also science, engineering, art, medicine, etc.) and do so, not only in November, but throughout the year.

That said, I understand that some of you are constrained by prescribed curriculum, and now is your window. In that case, by all means, knock yourselves out–and thank you for your efforts!

On a related note, those who follow annual counts of multicultural books know that the numbers in this area are low–only six youth lit books by Native authors and only 44 titles about Native people were published in 2007. Source: CCBC. Please consider supporting Native voices via this new widget from JacketFlap.

Learn more about Native American Themes in Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Don’t miss the teacher/reader guides, which include a free readers’ theater for Indian Shoes by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Jim Madsen (HarperCollins, 2002)(ages 7-up). See also Debbie Reese’s blog, American Indians in Children’s Literature.

Check out this book trailer for Rain Is Not My Indian Name, designed by Shayne Leighton.

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