A Blog for the Master's of Information Sciences Program
When Clay Sings
Title: When Clay Sings
Author: Byrd Baylor
Illustrator: Tom Bahti
Publisher: Aladdin Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing
Publication year: 1972
Brief Summary: From Simon & Schuster-“Pieces of broken pots are scattered over the desert hillsides of the Southwest. The Indians there treat them with respect — “Every piece of clay is a piece of someone’s life,” they say. And the children try to imagine those lives that took place in the desert they think of as their own. Clay has its own small voice, and sings. Its song has lasted for thousands of years. And Byrd Baylor’s prose-poem as simple and powerful as the clay pots, sings too.”
Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – Like many of the early Native American children’s books I have covered so far, including Baylor’s other book The Desert Is Theirs, I do not think this would be in circulation in a school library setting. Not only for the fact that this book was from 1972, but also Baylor assumes too much of the Native American voice, though she was not Native American.
Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it – As I said with some of my other posts, I think there are other books out there written by and for Native American tribes, like The Water Protectors and Fry Bread. Like her other book, Baylor gives no references or even a mention of an oral storyteller as giving her this content. While the illustrations are interesting as Bahti gives a map and a tribe name to each illustration type, I do not think this book merits in the top 50.