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Who Will Tell My Brother? Hardcover – July 2, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-Up Through lyrical free-verse poems that span his senior year, readers come to know Evan Hill, an artistic, articulate student who embarks on a crusade begun by his older brother to remove the Indian as their high school's mascot. He shares a Native American heritage with his father, who embodies patience and quiet strength and who draws the teen into his once estranged Mohawk family circle. Evan encounters a mix of hostility, indifference, and silent support for his cause from his classmates. Intolerance and brutality erupt when long-haired Evan is cornered in the hall by scissors-wielding classmates and when his mother discovers the beloved family dog lying dead atop a paper feather headdress. The young man's repeated visits to the school board generate annoyance, frustration, and intransigence, and it votes to ignore his request and to uphold the status quo. But at graduation, when an Indian mascot banner is displayed, cheers fade as sympathizers join Evan in a silent, seated protest. Carvell's first novel carries a clear, thought-provoking message about both intolerance and cultural pride. The protagonist's first-person experiences and insights are affecting. His objection to the shallow, stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans emerges from a spiritual and cultural need to be understood, recognized, and appreciated. Through his campaign, Evan learns a lesson in integrity, perseverance, and courage. -Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. A public issue comes close to home in this story of Evan Hill, a part-Mohawk high-school senior, who protests against his school's use of Indian mascots. Drawing on the real-life experience of her own two sons, Carvell lets Evan tell the story, which unfolds in quiet, spare, very readable, free-verse vignettes that express his hurt, anger, and humiliation as he tries to get the school board, the principal, and his classmates to listen to him and get rid of the noble savage caricature of his people. At times the narrative degenerates into sermonizing, with too much reverential talk about "proud solemnity." But Evan's words personalize his search for his Mohawk roots, even as his bullying classmates call him "Injun hippie" and "timber nigger" and then kill his beloved dog. The issues are sure to spark discussion: What about the bystanders who just let it happen? Will Evan change any minds? What's all the fuss about, anyway? Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion; 1st edition (July 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786808276
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786808274
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,156,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is one of the few adolescent books that produced a "WOW" from me while reading. I was so moved by the book that I read it to my classes because we did not have enough copies in the library to read individually. The message in this story is clearly and eloquently spoken -- The children shall lead us from our own mistaken courses. I recommend this to everyone from age 12 to 100. If you can read it without being moved, I will be surprised. It has become a staple in my curriculum when teaching about tolerance and change.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Denise Grandits on May 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
I am a mom of 3 adolescent boys and also a middle/high school English teacher. I'm always on the lookout for good books to share with my children and my students. I went to the library today and happened to see this book...it caught my attention so I borrowed it. I started reading it just over an hour ago and I have finished it (with tears in my eyes, I might add). What a moving account of a boy struggling to find who he is and having the courage to stand up for something he believes in. I have a particular interest in multicultural literature and this one speaks so eloquently of the struggle between how we look, how society perceives us and how we define ourselves. What an absolutely beautiful book! Middle schoolers through high schoolers can definitely relate to this book and it's "easy" enough for even the most troubled reader. Has tons of discussion points and is relevant for any culture, not just the Native American struggle. I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend this book. You won't be sorry.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Solon Middle School Student on October 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Marlene Carvell, the author of "Who Will Tell my Brother?" puts great detail in describing the actions of the characters. It's about a senior boy who tries to change the school mascot. The school disagrees with his disions and treat him diffent. They go so far that they, or someone, end up killing his dog. But then he realizes that racism is just an opinion. And then everything changes back to normal, excpt butch, Evan's dog. And the worse thing about it is that Butch was Evan's childhood friend and that His brother might not take it to well if he found out what happen to his friend.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
We read this book in our freshman English class. I am proud to say that the book was based on events that happened at our school and that Mrs. Carvell works in our district so my class was able to ask her questions regarding these events. Thanks to her son's determination the mascot issue has been resolved in our school. This book, from a Native American's point of view, shows that we do not honor the Natives with these mascots, in fact, we take away there dignity. I liked the fact that this book connects with many students at many different levels.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most of the school boards still using race-based sports identities refuse to end their race-based sports policy. What happened in the book is amazingly similar to what happens in ALMOST EVERY school district when an American Indian asks that their race not be used as a good-luck charm. All too often, the American Indian family has to move to a different school district because it becomes impossible to live there. Every family that raises the issue is at risk of violence. The pressure is intense.
I know this to be the case because my wife (who is Oneida) and I have worked almost full time in this civil rights arena since 2002. We have been subjected to this horror in our own school district in Wisconsin and have worked with many others across the nation who had the same experience when asking for an end to the race-based school board sports policy.
As an example, in the Osseo-Fairchild School District in Wisconsin, my wife was told in a message left on our answering machine "Why don't you go back to the reservation where you belong!" A letter to the editor in the local newspaper said we should "pack up and get out of town!" A Caucasian ally's barn was severely vandalized not once but twice with disgusting graffiti. Another American Indian family had their mailbox vandalized when the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council asked our School Board to end their race-based practice targeting American Indians. The list of incidents goes on and on. It was only getting a civil rights state law passed in Wisconsin regarding race-based identities that finally forced Osseo-Fairchild's School Board to stop using race as the basis for their sports policy.
Sadly, what we experienced and what is described in "Who Will Tell My Brother?
Read more ›
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
I think that this book is only ok. It is good because it helps people learn how to stand up for their race, and gain courage. But I did not like the author's style of writing which was in poem form, which made it difficult for me to enjoy the book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Finlay on April 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Who Will Tell My Brother, by Marlene Carvell, is a thought provoking novel written in the Karen Hesse (Out of the Dust) blank verse style. It tells the tale of Evan, a high school senior of Native American heritage, and his struggle with the powers that be in an attempt to remove the offensive Indian school mascot. Carvell's vivid description of the "painted face with empty eyes" picture of the mascot brings the point home clearly that Native Americans are living people as Evan struggles with his heritage and the hatred from his fellow students. The school board also does not understand why Evan is taking this matter so seriously and tell him "Racism is matter of opinion."

Evan's older brother, Jacob, was the first student to attempt to change the mascot, but now is away at college. The title of the story is the main plot point as Evan must tell his brother about a terrible and violent act done to scare Evan away from continuing his struggle. The violence changes the opinion of the majority of the student body from supporting the mascot to silently protesting the mascot's presence at graduation.

Carvell's use of verse was very moving in describing Evan's emotions as he stood up for what he believed in. The act of violence is devastating and will stay with the reader long after they've completed the story. Evan's courage and inner strength will also stay with readers who stand up for what is right.
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