People of Twelve Thousand Winters

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Book Information

Reader Personality Type
Sleeping Bear Press 2012
Social Studies Curriculum

A world of wild onions, sage, berries and wild grapes surrounds the Lenape Indians  (present day New Jersey) and in the Time of the Falling Leaves everyone in this Indian village is dedicated to gathering the corn, beans, squash and so many types of nuts that will carry them through the winter.

What was life like in the Lenape village? What role did children play in the society?  Before the Europeans arrived in North America, what did a day hold for the Lenape families?

This is the story of a young Lenape boy, Walking Turtle, who as he was given his name was also told he would carry his people slowly and surely on his back just as the turtle carries his shell.  Walking Turtle also carries his cousin, Little Talk, who was born with a crooked foot.  Both boys share the appreciation for each other.  Little Talk thanks Walking Turtle for carrying him and Walking Turtle in return thanks Little Talk, wanisi, for making him strong.

Change is coming.  Walking Turtle is going to go to warrior school to learn "the ways of a great hunter" but Little Talk will not come with him.  The two boys will have to let each other go.

The story weaves the emotional arc of the relationship between Walking Turtle and Little Talk with the rich description of the daily lives of the Lenape Indians.

In one of the most beautiful passages I've read in children's picture books, Walking Turtle honors what Little Talk has given to him and Little Talk, wise beyond his years, honors the life that Walking Turtle must claim for himself and for the future of his people.  This is a wonderful story to share with our elementary aged listeners so they can reflect on the value of a life and how they too are part of a great and wondrous world.

Ages  7-10  978-1585365296   32 pages

Recommended by:  Barb

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