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Encounter (Voyager Books) Paperback – September 20, 1996

4.1 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

PW's starred review described this "stirring" book as a look at the dark underside of Christopher Columbus's adventure. "The message is blunt but the language in which it is couched is vintage Yolen, lyrical and impassioned. Shannon's visionary style is an ideal complement." Also available in a Spanish-language edition, Encuentro ($6, -201342-3). Ages 6-12.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2 - 5-- Readers weary of materials celebrating Columbus and his voyages will be refreshed and intrigued by this thought-provoking picture book. The imaginative story examines the first meeting between Columbus and the indigenous peoples of San Salvador (the Taino) through the eyes of a young native boy. The unnamed narrator has been warned in an ominous dream that the strangers may bring trouble to his people. His concerns are ignored, however, and the Taino greet their guests with customary feasting and gifts, only to be repaid by the abduction of several of their young people. Taken among the captives, the boy escapes and slowly makes his way home, trying to convince others along the way that the Spanish pose a threat, but to no avail. Yolen acknowledges in an author's note that no record of the Tainos' reaction to Columbus's arrival is available; this account is instead an evocative imagining of how things might have been. The haunting story is perfectly complemented by Shannon's powerful acrylic paintings. He mentions that, in fact, the Taino did not wear clothing, but feels that his decision to clothe them does not interfere with the plausibility or effectiveness of his presentation. A book that offers readers an alternative perspective on a well-known and much-celebrated historical event. --Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Series: Voyager Books
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (September 20, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 015201389X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152013899
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For the first few years in school, children learn about Columbus the hero. You get the ships and the voyage and the alleged discovery. When I taught third grade I would read this book around Columbus day and it was shock and awe with the kids. The thought that Columbus might not have been such a hero created dead silence around my room. Some felt duped by their second and first grade teachers. A conversation really begins to take hold about information and where it comes from and what you should or should not just assume to be true. It is higher level thinking at its best. After reading this book and having the discussions that followed, many of my students began asking many more questions about the other side of every argument. What a valuable lesson! For many of my students it was a brave new world.

Chris Bowen
Author of, Our Kids: Building Relationships in the Classroom
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Format: Paperback
First found this book when I was student teaching. Such a powerful book, both to teach history/social studies and to see that every story has two sides. I've been in 2 classrooms since and have decided I can't live without this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having borrowed the book from my local library, I noticed that the Kindle edition was available and at a low price. I bought it yesterday evening, and returned it this afternoon. Regardless of what you think of the book (and there are some fascinating points of view in other people's reviews), the Kindle edition is not just disappointing but incomplete. The illustrations, as someone else has pointed out, are in black and white, even when read on the cloud reader on my laptop, but even worse there are illustrations and whole pages of text totally missing, and that's just in the first few pages! Shameful quite honestly.
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By A Customer on July 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
"The Encounter" written by Jane Yolen, is a historically accurate fiction. As a departure from the other writing style she shows, this book is not light-hearted, but rather a serious work written with an intention to educate. Of course, to keep the reader focussed and interested in a story that s/he may have heard hundreds of times already, some high drama is added.
The book leaves one with a slight over-all feeling of sorrow, but accomplishes its purpose. Read it, even if you decide not to own it. For a bit of a pick-me-up, re-read Jane Yolen's "Wizard's Hall" (very entertaining, even after four years of looking).
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Format: Paperback
The book, Encounter, was so astonishing because of it's vivid descriptions. Not only did it express the arrival of Christopher Columbus through another's eyes, but it was through a child that the story was told. No one believed him because he was so young and they believed that the dream that had been sent to him was just a nightmare. He could tell that they were evil and greedy ever since they set foot in his home. The new arrivers had treated his people like indians, believing that their gifts were to great for such lowly people. Their clothes were so colorful compared to the clothes that wore. After being accepted in a new territory they compensated by having people taken away from them to become slaves. But still no one listened to such a small boy. He escaped and that's how he was able to tell his tale to others, but it was too late. All the people he had once knew were taken away from him forever. I really liked this book because it was in the point of view from someone so young and innocent.
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Format: Paperback
Through the written word of Jane Yolen and the magnificent illustrations by artist David Shannon, we are given one of the most thought provoking children's books available as to the subject of early American, and indeed, European history. Recent historical writings, fed by some adjustments in our overall way of perceiving the early settlement of the Americas and their exploitation by European powers, have shed a new light on and caused most of us to take a second look as to our attitudes and conclusions as to the famous "Columbus Discovers America" story that most school children almost know by heart.

Before I begin, I must admit that it is extremely tempting to begin a historical, political, social and ethical rant after reading this work as an adult. Make no mistake; I have extremely strong views and opinions when it comes to evaluating Columbus and his actions, which are rather strongly reinforced by a wife who is a rather militant lady of overwhelming Native American heritage. These views and opinions, for me, were forged long before it became the "in" thing to trash the famous explorer. I will not, in this review, place my views to the forefront, but attempt, to simply review the book for what it is.

This is the story of the landing and first encounter of Columbus and his crew as they met the indigenous people of Hispaniola (Haiti) which were called the Taino people. It is told through the eyes of a young boy who through a dream, fears that a great evil has descended upon their land. They boy tries to warn his people not to accept these strange beings; to reject them. His people do not listen to him of course and then the inevitable occurs and of course history is played out.
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