Amazon features 14 reviews of Tom Weso’s Native American Stories for Kids,” all of them five-star recommendations. Amazon points out that the book is aimed at kids from 6 through 9. If you have children or grandchildren, by all means get the book and share it with them, read it aloud, reread it. The sentences are mostly short and direct, the stories short, and a glossary teaches new words, like potlach, trickster, and vain. The book’s 12 stories come from 12 tribes: Athabascan, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Delaware (Lenape), Haida, Lakaota, Menominee, Miwok, Navajo, Nez Perce, Paiute, and Zuni Pueblo. Tom Weso, a Menominee, is a master story-teller and pulls you into each narrative with a short paragraph. In a number of the tales, animals, fish and fowl, along with plants and trees are ‘people.’ They talk and understand each other and draw us directly into their stories. Nature becomes more interesting, more engaged with us humans, and often scary. Vicky Garlock, a master of interfaith kids’ literature, says in her review, “Each tale offers a glimpse into some aspect of the Indigenous worldview – how the world came to be, what humans can learn from the animal and spirit worlds, and how we might better appreciate the beauty all around us – and each is accompanied by a full-color illustration and a bit of additional information about the specific tribe being represented.” Along the way we learn that the World once was frozen through, and how a mighty spirit warrior, Kesoq, or the Sun, woke up from a long dream, and fell in love with her. We learn why rabbits, because they are so tricky, are consigned to briar patches. We see a mountain sheep, who, after great struggling, becomes the faithful North Star. And how Denali Mountain, once called Mount McKinley, was created. And much more. I was particularly taken with the Creation Story of the Delaware or Lenape people. In it, we meet Kishelamakank, the Creator, who falls asleep and begins to dream, and the universe and all that lives in it begins to emerge. So buy it for the kids, but read and reread it for yourself. Most of Amazon’s 14 reviews remarked on how the stories were as engaging of adults as children. My experience exactly. As you may know, Tom Weso is a member of our congregation, as is his spouse, Denise LowWeso, former Poet Laureate of Kansas. We are blessed to have them in our community. Now treat yourself and your family by reading Native American Stories for Kids.
Here's a link to purchase the book: