Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Favorite Picture Books: Sequoyah


Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing by James Rumford

I discovered this book years ago when we read through American History in a year with picture books (a delightful course of study).

The author and illustrator tells the story of an amazing man, Sequoyah, about whom very little is really known. Weaving together myths and legends, he introduces Sequoyah through the stories that have been told about him over the years. Wonderfully, Ann Sixkiller Huckaby has provided a Cherokee translation of the words on each page.

Sequoyah is a hero and Mr. Rumford presents his story as such. Despite hardships, disabilities, a lack of education, and persecution, Sequoyah develops a syllabary for the Cherokee language and with help, modifies it to symbols that can be printed for newspapers and signs. One page touches on the Trail of Tears and other struggles the Cherokee have faced, showing the great gift Sequoyah gave his people without overwhelming little ones with too much sorrow.

It is a picture book you should not miss.

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