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Written in Stone Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (June 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375869719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375869716
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #388,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-7-Parry blends Native American folklore and culture with historical fiction to portray a 13-year-old girl who tries to remain true to the ways of her Makah tribe. Pearl's mother and baby sister died in the flu pandemic of 1918; five years later, her father loses his life on a whaling expedition, leaving her an orphan. She strives for ways to make a sustainable living while preserving her Pacific Northwest tribe's traditional practices of working with the land and its resources. Pearl's dream of becoming a whaler like her father is unrealistic, both because women are not allowed to hunt whales and because the whale population is rapidly diminishing. When an art collector approaches the tribe to purchase cultural artifacts for a museum, Pearl is suspicious. She uncovers his true agenda: he wants to tap the community's natural energy resources to the detriment of her people's livelihood. Realistic and insightful, Parry's novel succeeds in depicting a picture of one girl's experience to preserve her people's dignity and values in a rapidly changing modern world.-Rita Soltan, Youth Services Consultant, West Bloomfield, MIα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In a brief framework story set in 1999 in northwest Washington State, an elderly Makah Indian named Pearl walks toward the ocean, singing a song remembered from her childhood to welcome the whale brought home after a traditional hunt. The time shifts to 1923, when 13-year-old Pearl learns that her father was lost at sea during a whale hunt. She finds strength and comfort in her extended family and their traditions, while recognizing that the world around them is encroaching on their way on life. Meanwhile, a supposed art collector attempts to trick Pearl’s elders into signing away valuable mineral rights. While struggling with grief, Pearl begins to discover her strengths and how she can use them for the good of her people. Parry, who once taught Makah and Quinault students, shows respect and restraint in bringing their traditional ways of life to the page. Skillfully using dialogue and sensory details to portray people and places, she creates a strong sense of Pearl’s individuality and of her people’s struggle. An informative author’s note is appended. Grades 4-7. --Carolyn Phelan

More About the Author

Rosanne Parry was born in Oak Park, Illinois and grew up in Portland, Oregon. She and her husband live in Portland in an old farm house where they are raising four children, three chickens and five kinds of fruit. She writes in a tree house in her back yard.

Her first novel Heart of a Shepherd was named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, a Best Children's Book of the Year by the Washington Post, and a Horn Book Fanfare Book. In 2010 it was chosen for the Oregon Spirit Book Award given by the Oregon Council of Teachers of English. It received the Rodda Award from the Church and Synagogue Library Association, and it was named on Honor Book for the Judy Lopez Memorial Book Award given by the Women's National Book Association.

Her historical novel Second Fiddle was named an INDY NEXT pic for the Spring 2011 list. It was a Parents' Choice Award winner 2011 and and Oregon Spirit Book Award winner in 2012. Her newest novel Written in Stone is a Junior Library Guild selection.

Rosanne presents workshops in person at writers' conferences and on line at The Loft Literary Center. She works with children of all ages in schools. If you wish to contact her for a school visit there is information about that on her website at www.rosanneparry.com .

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Hudson on June 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Set on the Makah Indian Reservation on the remote Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, Written in Stone takes a look at traditional whaling practices of the Makah that continue today, and how the loss of this ceremonial hunt threatened the livelihood of the tribe.

The story is told through the eyes of Pearl, a young Makah whose mother and sister died in the influenza pandemic in the 1920s and whose father died on a whale hunt. When the whales begin to disappear, she worries that no one will be left to tell their stories and keep their traditions alive.

Without the meat, bone, fat and other things the Makah harvested from whales, their very survival is in peril. Pearl's uncle, aunt, and her grandparents contemplate leaving to seek work in lumber mills, canneries and other places along the Pacific coast. In the end, Pearl draws on her own creativity and ingenuity as well as the wisdom she has learned from her parents and grandparents to stay true to her heritage while forging a path for the future.

Early in her teaching career author Parry lived near the Makah on the Quinalt Indian Reservation. She beautifully captures the wonder of the place while weaving in details of coastal tribal life in the early 1900s as she tells Pearl's story. At the end, she provides a glossary of terms as well as a bit of history about the Makah.

Mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 9 to 12 reading Written in Stone will be able to discuss the history of the times, how women were limited to certain roles, and how Pearl ultimately found her voice to preserve what was important to her. I highly recommend it.

The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on December 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Finding books of historical fiction for kids about Native Americans is an oddly limited proposition. Basically, it boils down to Pilgrims, the Trail of Tears, the occasional 1900s storyline (thank God for Louise Erdrich), and . . . yeah, that’s about it. Contemporary fiction? Unheard of at best, offensive at worst. Authors, it seems, like to relegate their American Indians to the distant past where we can feel bad about them through the conscience assuaging veil of history. Maybe that’s part of what I like so much about Rosanne Parry’s “Written in Stone”. Set in the 1920s, Parry picks a moment in time with cultural significance not for the white readers with their limited historical knowledge but for the people most influenced by changes both at home and at sea. Smart and subtle by turns, Parry tackles a tricky subject and comes away swinging.

A girl with a dream is just that. A dreamer. And though Pearl has always longed to hunt whales like her father before her, harpooning is not in her future. When her father, a member of the Makah people of the Pacific Northwest, is killed on a routine hunt, Pearl’s future is in serious doubt. Not particularly endowed with any useful skills (though she’d love to learn to weave, if anyone was around to teach her), Pearl uncovers on her own a series of forgotten petroglyphs and the plot of a nefarious “art dealer”. Now her newfound love of the written word is going to give her the power to do something she never thought possible: preserve her tribe’s culture.

It’s sort of nice to read a book and feel like a kid in terms of the plot twists. Take, for example, the character of the “collector” who arrives and then immediately appears to be something else entirely.
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Format: Hardcover
At its heart, Written in Stone is about Pearl, a Native American teen who has always dreamed of hunting whales like her father. Too many factors work against that goal, however, which causes Pearl to search for other ways to preserve her the Makah culture. While the story did whet my appetite, I unfortunately found the plot cluttered.

The plot contains so many threads, several of which are never connected, that it strains under their burden. First, there is the loss of Pearl’s parents: she just lost her father, who died on a whale hunt; her mother died during an influenza epidemic five years earlier. Tied into these tragedies is Pearl’s turmoil over having kept a memento from her mom, which goes against Native tradition, and her guilt over feeling maybe she is to blame for her father’s death. Next, because the whaling industry no longer exists, a new way of making money must be found. One way might be to accept an offer from an art dealer, who turns out to be a trickster. Then, there’s the convenience of Pearl getting lost and making an important discovery of unique rock carvings. Last, there’s Pearl conflict over how to best preserve her tribe’s traditions. All these events interested me. Unfortunately, it felt as if Parry skimmed through some of them, instead of taking time to give them depth and to build the connections needed for a cohesive plot.

Written in Stone was inspired by Parry’s experiences teaching on a Native American reservation. Her respect for the Makah way of life is evident in her writing. Pearl values closeness of family, the whale hunt, and the traditions of her tribe. I learned about a variety of Native American traditions that were new to me such as potlatch, and ones which weren’t completely unfamiliar to me such as petroglyphs.
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