Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thirteen Moons

Bruchac, Joseph, and London, Jonathan. 1997. Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back: A Native American Year of Moons. New York: Putnam Berkley Group. Ill. by Thomas Locker. ISBN 0-698-11584-8

This picture book includes 13 poems reflecting the 13 moons of the calendar year.  Each poem is a retelling of a different tribes moon legend.
Each poem in this collection represents a different tribe or nations legend about a moon cycle.  Told as if an adult is instructing a child the poems are presented as a complete lunar cycle. The turtle is used as a guide and reminder of the lunar cycle due to the 13 scales which always appear on the shell.

While each poem is well written and a beautiful interpretation of a legend.  The book falls short of providing any signfigant details of tribal life.  The illustrations are beautiful by themselves.  However, they do not provide any additional insight into the poems.  Further the illustration placement within the book further distances the picture from the text.  Each poem is located on the left hand side of the page with the illustrations seperated onto the right 3/4 of each layout.
Notable Children's Trade Book in the Language Arts
IRA Teachers' Choice Book
Notable Children's Trade Book in the field of Social Studies
"This unusual and intelligent book is an exemplary introduction to Native American culture with its emphasis on the importance of nature."- Publishers Weekly
"dignified retellings of Native American legends "- Kirkus
Have students explore and research one of the Native American tribes or nations that contribute a legend to the book.

Do all turtles have 13 scales on their backs.  Have students research different types of turtles.

Create your own turtle time calendar (download available at http://rhythmofthehome.com/2011/05/turtle-time-creating-using-13-moon-calendar-activity-children/)

Find out more information about lunar phases and the effects of the moon on our planet.

Read more by Joseph Bruchac.  An index of published works can be found on the author's website http://www.josephbruchac.com/published_books.html

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