Book Review: Turtle Island: The Story of North America’s First People by Eldon Yellowhorn and Kathy Lowinger

***This book was reviewed for Annick Press via Netgalley

Turtle Island is a well-written middle-grade condensed history of the First Peoples of America. There were indigenous populations of people in the Americas long before Columbus, or even Leif Eriksson. Previously thought to have crossed from Siberia, over the Bering landbridge, we are now learning these ancient populations followed other routes as well.

This book starts out with the Creation myth Turtle Island and Sky Woman, and follows a loose history of indigenous people, all the way up to the modern day, and throughout North and South America alike. I loved the artwork, pictures, and interspersed myths. One thing that stuck with me, and for which I am thankful, is that they pay proper homage to the indigenous peoples for having created their own monuments and mega-architecture. Nothing irks me more than ‘we don’t know where Monks Mound, Pueblo Bonito, Temple of the Sun, {insert other large FP building or mounds works} came from. The natives couldn’t have built them. Europeans must have done, or else been here earlier and shown them how.’  I have read similar notions in several publications and it angers me every time.

This is a great introduction for middle-grade readers. Personally, I think it would be a great companion for teaching history in schoolrooms.


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