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Native Pathways to Education
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Honoring Alaska's Indigenous Literature

Margie Karasti
Book Review #5
Frog Girl
Paul Owen Lewis

"Frog Girl", another interesting book published by Paul Owen Lewis, whom also completed; "Grasper, Storm Boy, Davey's Dream, P.Bear's New Year's Party." This book was published in 1997 with special thanks to Bill Holm, Chris Landon a Native cultural advisor, Michelle Roehm, Alisha Hagerty, and Marisa Morales, for their help with the text and art, and also to the Northwest Coast people for their culture that inspired it." This book is for Michelle, G>C>B.

Towards the back of this book, he shares in his notes, all the historical information of the Haida, Tlinget, and other Native peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of America's rich cultural information of traditional oral stories. He shares the "Hero" adventures found in all their mythologies, "a hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man."

"Frog Girl" reflects Joseph Campbell's three rites of passage: separation, initiation, and return just as was in "Storm Boy". A portion of the proceeds from this book is donated to the Haida Gwaii Rediscovery Program for tribal youth, just as "Storm Boy." This book is well done with the text created for children to enjoy reading and the art work is brilliantly portrayed with bright colors depicting the culture and actions of the story.

The character is a little daughter of a chief of a small village who often went alone to a lake to listen to frog's sing their songs. But one day she heard no songs and only heard human voices, who happen to be two boys hunting them. After they left she went closer to try and find a frog but suddenly heard human voice which happens to be coming from a small frog in the grass. The frog took her to his place, at the edge of the lake, where it lifted up! At once she found herself in a large empty village, a young woman told her, "we live as you do." The little girl asks, "where are your people?" and the young girl says that's why my grandmother wishes to ask her why all her children were taken and no longer has their songs to comfort her." The little girl told her of the two boys, grandmother cries, the fire grew hotter, the house shook, and quickly the young girl told her to go back to her village by closing her eyes and thinking.

Suddenly she was back at the lake, saw black smoke, it was the volcano, she quickly ran back to the village, found the frogs and ran back to the lake to free them. Soon as she released them it began to rain, her people returned by canoe. She told them what happened and she told them that they are their sisters and brothers and that we should treat them so.

This is a 3.8 reading level and is used for the Accelerator Reading Program at our school. My students have read this book along with "Storm Boy" for our Literacy Reading program, after studying a unit on legends around the world. A few of my students have written a book report after reading the story and they really enjoyed reading it and the book's illustrations. The artwork is brilliant and does emphasize the richness of the Haida, Tlinget, and other Natives of the Pacific Northwest region. It is a wonderful book to incorporate into the Social Studies/Geography when teaching Alaska Studies for our students to grasp a better understanding of the Southeast and North Pacific Northwest Region.

The book reviews are a result of students enrolling in special topics course Ed 493 Examining Alaska Children's Literature taught by Esther A. Ilutsik in the Spring of 2004.

The book reviews are written by the students and are a reflection of their own analysis of the books and have not been altered in any way. The reviewers have given permission to share the book reviews on the HAIL website.

 

 

 

 

 

Go to University of AlaskaThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution and is a part of the University of Alaska system.

 


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Last modified August 14, 2006