Hiawatha and the Peacemaker

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker

Book - 2015
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Born of Mohawk and Cayuga descent, musical icon Robbie Robertson learned the story of Hiawatha and his spiritual guide, the Peacemaker, as part of the Iroquois oral tradition. Now he shares the same gift of storytelling with a new generation.

Hiawatha was a strong and articulate Mohawk who was chosen to translate the Peacemaker's message of unity for the five warring Iroquois nations during the 14th century. This message not only succeeded in uniting the tribes but also forever changed how the Iroquois governed themselves--a blueprint for democracy that would later inspire the authors of the U.S. Constitution.

Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator David Shannon brings the journey of Hiawatha and the Peacemaker to life with arresting oil paintings. Together, Robertson and Shannon have crafted a new children's classic that will both educate and inspire readers of all ages.

Includes a CD featuring a new, original song written and performed by Robbie Robertson.
Publisher: New York :, Abrams Books for Young Readers,, 2015, ©2015.
ISBN: 9781419712203
Branch Call Number: J 398. 209701 ROB
Characteristics: 48 unnumbered pages : colour illustrations ; 30 cm + 1 sound disc
Additional Contributors: Shannon, David - Illustrator

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WAJorgensen
Jul 16, 2017

My 9-year-old grandson and I enjoyed reading this book together. We both love the story, which has similarities to the stories he hears at church (Christian Orthodox), about peace, forgiveness, and healing. The illustrations are fantastic, bold and emotionally charged. The story itself is told with Robbie Robertson's characteristic mastery of artistic language. I would recommend this highly for all children (elementary and older) and the adults in their lives.

s
skyekilaen
Nov 19, 2016

Robbie Robertson is of Mohawk and Cayuga descent. In this book, he shares a story he heard growing up. It's based on true historical figures, and it's about how the oldest known participatory democracy on Earth was formed. It's also about personal healing after tragedy and turning away from violence.

The writing works so well because Robertson focuses in on his two title characters, and most deeply on Hiawatha, a man struggling with pain and grief due to the murder of his family. He agrees to travel with the Peacemaker and help him share a vision of peace even though he doesn't believe it yet himself. His emotional journey during the book is profoundly real. It takes him over half the book to even remember the joy of his lost family, instead of being consumed by anger.

Despite these big themes, it's totally appropriate for elementary school aged children. They may not get the full depth of emotion here that adults will, but the message of peace and forgiveness will come though clearly. It's also absolutely gorgeous. David Shannon absolutely wins here. So many of the pages could be paintings hanging in an art museum.

(If you're familiar with Longfellow's poem about Hiawatha, don't get confused. Longfellow got the name of his character totally wrong, as well as many other details.)

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