Did you know that once the sky was so low that tall people kept bumping their heads on it? Ouch! Children playing catch would lose their balls if they threw them too high. Tree climbers would disappear and arrows would stick in the sky. What could be done about this? The Snohomish people who lived (and still live) in what we now call the state of Washington, found an answer. To learn of their clever solution, for which we are very grateful, read “Pushing Up the Sky” one of the short plays for children collected and adapted by Joseph Bruchac in PUSHING UP THE SKY: Seven Native American Plays for Children.
Abenaki author Joseph Bruchac has written many children’s novels featuring Native American characters. He has also given us biographies and picture book versions of folktales. What wonderful gifts. One of my favorite Bruchac biographies is Crazy Horse’s Vision, which tells the story of a Lakota boy named Curly up to the time when he earned the name that we now know him by – Crazy Horse. S.D Nelson, a Lakota Sioux, illustrated the book with paintings inspired by the ledger book art of the Plains Indians.
In the author and illustrator notes at the back of Crazy Horse’s Vision Bruchac and Nelson tell us why they chose to celebrate the life of Crazy Horse and what the ledger book paintings from the 1800s mean to American Indian culture.