Amazon Basin (Vanishing Culture Series)
This title is part of the series “Vanishing Cultures.” With vibrant photography and easy to comprehend text, author/photographer Reynolds gives children a glimpse into the daily lives of Yanomama children as they pursue their daily activities: gathering plantains and other fruits and vegetables in the forest, learning how to use a bow and arrow to hunt with, fishing, swimming, and sharing family time in their communal houses called shaponos, which can house from fifty to one hundred people! Readers also learn about how funerals are conducted among the Yanomama, who mourn their dead in a ceremony, which includes the closest family members drinking the ashes of the lost loved one mixed in soup. This, they believe, allows the life of their loved one to continue on earth.
These indigenous people have been threatened by the arrival of foreigners who, since the sixteenth century, have been arriving in the Yanomama’s native territories, searching for land and gold. They also brought devastating diseases which, according to Reynolds, “resulted in the largest decline of an indigenous population we have ever known,”—from about five million people to only a few hundred thousand individuals. The author includes a personal reflection on the journey she took to document this culture and its way of life. Although there is no bibliography appended to this title, it will still prove to be a very useful starting point for young researchers and citizens of our global economy. A free teacher’s guide is available at the publisher’s site: leeandlow.com.
Recommended by Shari Shaw, B.A., M.L.I.S., Michigan, USA