Book review: There Is a Tribe of Kids, by Lane Smith

Smith, Lane. There Is a Tribe of Kids. Roaring Brook, 2016. $18.99. 40p. ISBN 9781626720565. Ages 4-7. P9Q9

smith-tribe-of-kidsSmith highlights collective nouns as a boy in a tunic made of leaves wanders around, meeting an unkindness of ravens, a turn of turtles, a smack of jellyfish, and far more. The Caldecott Honor winner celebrates both nature and language in the boy’s 24-hour journey. His  body language and expressions show his response to his environment in a delight of oils, sprayed varnish, and colored pencils.

[Not everyone found the book delightful. Debbie Reese, publisher of the American Indians in Children’s Literature website, took umbrage at the term “tribe”:  “My main concerns about the book are specific to the coupling of ‘tribe’ with the illustrations of the children who are wearing feathers in their hair in ways that suggest they are playing Indian. That style of play is stereotypical and collapses the diversity of Native lives—past and present—into a monolithic and primitive framework.” More about her concerns here:

http://www.slj.com/2016/07/diversity/there-is-a-tribe-of-kids-generates-controversy-among-librarians/#_ ]

Fall 2016 review by Nel Ward.

 

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