A Blog for the Master's of Information Sciences Program
Title: Raven: A Trickster Tale From The Pacific Northwest
Author: Gerald McDermott
Illustrator: Gerald McDermott
Publisher: Voyager Books
Publication year: 1993
Brief Summary: From Amazon– “Raven, the trickster, wants to give people the gift of light. But can he find out where Sky Chief keeps it? And if he does, will he be able to escape without being discovered? His dream seems impossible, but if anyone can find a way to bring light to the world, wise and clever Raven can!”
Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – This book raises many questions. Much like A Story, A Story, a person who is not of the culture is recounting a traditional folklore. This seems problematic now that we (in this class) understand that there is a lack of diverse protagonists and diverse authors in the picture book market. However, I realize that there are still teachers and administrators who use this book to help children understand traditional folktales. I found this resource from National Indian Education Association on using this book as a lesson.
Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it. – McDermott uses traditional Pacific Northwest Native American art to depict the Raven. I think it is important that McDermott studied and used the traditional artwork of the Native American region in which the folktale came from but I also think now is the time to let Native American artists and authors themselves tell their stories. I think while this can still have a place as a picture book, if this is being used in a classroom, it needs to be used in conjunction with a picture book written by a Native American author/artist if available.