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Brother Eagle, Sister Sky: A Message from Chief Seattle Hardcover – July 22, 2002

4.0 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Hardcover, July 22, 2002
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Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie
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The first picture book from National Book Award winner Sherman Alexie, the author of the New York Times bestseller The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, illustrated by Caldecott Honor illustrator Yuyi Morales. Learn more | See related books
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With Native American themes currently in vogue, and environmental awareness a hot issue, this timely picture book scores perfect marks in both arenas. The story is an adaptation of a speech delivered by Chief Seattle at treaty negotiations in the 1850s. Like other great speeches that have stood the test of time, his remarkably relevant message has endured because it comes from the heart and is imbued with passion--here, passion born of love for the land--"This we know: All things are connected like the blood that unites us. / We did not weave the web of life, / We are merely a strand in it. / Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves." Jeffers has paired Seattle's eloquence with her dreamy, meticulous illustrations and the resulting images are haunting. First, readers see Native Americans living in harmony with nature, but gradually the images grow bleaker--ugly swaths of land stripped of their timber. The story comes full circle as a Caucasian family plants new trees on the barren land in a gesture that signifies hope and renewal. Together, Seattle's words and Jeffers's images create a powerful message; this thoughtful book deserves to be pondered and cherished by all. All ages.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-5-- Chief Sealth (called "Seattle" by Jeffers) may not, in fact, be the historical source of the speech commonly attributed to him, and abridged and adapted here. But the message it conveys has never been more pointed, poignant, and powerful. Jeffers's popular pen-and-color style means that the illustrations are romantic and attractive. Alas, her entire stock of characters appears to have come from Sioux Central Casting, complete with Plains ponies and tipis (and one incongruous birchbark canoe lifted from the Algonquians). The beautiful and important words of the text ("The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth. . . All things are connected like the blood that unites us.") are not well served by images that ignore the rich diversity of Amerindian cultures (even Sealth's own Northwest people) in favor of cigar-store redskins in feathers and fringe. Where Jeffers's book is used, it should be supplemented with others more sensitive to Native American heritage. --Patricia Dooley, University of Washington, Seattle
Copyright 1991 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: 8 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 6
  • Lexile Measure: 740 (What's this?)
  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Perfection Learning (July 22, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075691051X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756910518
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.3 x 11.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,452,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Turtleback
Readers of this very popular work should know that it is not what it pretends. Chief Seattle's "speech" as presented by Jeffers is forgery, the real chief Sealth never said anything of the kind. The speech presented here was forged in the 1970s by a Hollywood script writer, and was further altered by Jeffers herself. This book is an insulting white stereotype of real Indians, much like "Dances With Wolves." Even Jeffers' drawings are lies, based on photographs of Plains Indians who in no way resemble the real chief Sealth, who was a portly little fellow. Books like this one do a grave injustice to Native Americans.
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Format: Paperback
This is a book that everyone should read with a message to which everyone should pay close attention. Chief Seattle's speech, whether facto or fiction, is famous as it sought to remind us of our place on this planet and our obligation to the natural world around us. This book tells us that we are far from being the dominant species we think we are and that even in our most powerful state we must serve the earth. The illustrations are incredible, too, and evoke beautiful ideas of connection between people and the earth.
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Format: Hardcover
All those who are applauding Jeffers for her misguided protrayal of Chief Si'ahl's words should rethink what you are proclaiming. I would be enraged -- as you would -- if I were blatantly misquoted. Perhaps you should be sensitve enough to check out how Native Americans feel about this book on [...] -- or -- clear your facts by reading the website posted by his own people [...] We are doing our children an injustice by continuing to pass on misconceptions as history. I would perfer to give this a 0 star rating but since that was not an option -- I guess the pictures are attractive -- even though the drawing of Chief Si'ahl are actually an exact copy of the Cheyenne Two Moons -- try googling it and you'll see. Oh -- did you notice that the ghost on the last page is carrying a empty cradleboard? I find that appalling.
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Format: Paperback
What do you teach your children?

There's a bit of an argument that has taken place concerning whether Chief Seattle in fact said something like or unlike the lovely verse in this book. I'd just like to remind people that this book is for young children and not historians.

And I, for one, have read this book to my children just as I have read them the 'legends' or 'debatable facts' about George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.

So, if you are interested in presenting profound and beautiful words to your kids along with interesting pictures, both of which might very well incite conversation BUY THIS BOOK.

If you want guaranteed facts, read them the newspaper. (Well, okay... that's no guarantee either.)

Five Stars.
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Format: Hardcover
This wasn't written with the intent to be a fraud. The author, a Texas professor Ted Perry, wrote it in 1971 for Home, a TV movie about ecology. One should note that in the case of 'the thousand rotting buffaloes shot from a train rotting in the sun' that there were no buffalo for maybe a thousand miles from Seattle and there were no trains in the west. The 'speech' in the TV movie was actually a letter from Seattle. It has nothing to do with Seattle, American Native peoples and it is contemporary environmentalist aspirations parading as traditional culture.

There are three main issues about Chief Seattle and his famous "speech." First is the projecting of our beliefs onto indigenous people. The argument that many Native Americans feel this way is spurious -- these words reflect the beliefs of many members of many ethnic groups. "Native American culture is constantly being exploited and appropriated as illustrations of whatever European theory is in fashion," said Jack Forbes, professor of Native American studies at the University of California at Davis. This sentiment has been echoed by many Native American writers such as Ward Churchill and Vine Deloria, Jr. Perry's environmentalist Chief Seattle is a wonderful literary creation, but like Longfellow's Hiawatha it tells us about as much about authentic Native American culture as the film Ben Hur or Shakespeare's Mark Antony tells us about ancient Rome.

A second difficulty is in the appropriation of the voice of Native Americans. In quoting the Perry speech (3) we are simultaneously suppressing the Smith version (1) of Seattle's words.
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Format: Hardcover
Text aside, Susan Jeffer's book on Chief Seattle has inaccurate illustrations of historic Northwest Coast tribal costume, dwellings and landscape. I also use this book with my third graders every year - but only to show the kids how some authors have not done adequate research before publishing. There are other great children's books on the subject from lesser known authors and smaller publishers. It may be worth your while to look them up.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Children learn very early in school that the first people in our land were very serious about being keepers of the earth. I have been teaching a graduate class for teachers concerning the protection of our environment and how we can help our children understand that if we are to survive in this world we have to protect our home, Planet Earth. Children have a very strong sense of justice at an early age and they know that it is "not fair" to be careless of our environment and perhaps destroy it before others can enjoy it. The words of Chief Seattle, above, remind us that we can be very careless and not protect our world from pollution and waste, or we can be good stewards of our home and save it for future generations.
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