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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide

Honoring Alaska's Indigenous Literature

Margie Karasti
Storm Boy
Paul Owen Lewis

This book was first published in 1995 by Gareth Stevens Publishing. It is written and illustrated by Paul Owen Lewis. It has 32 pages and is a winner of both American Book Award [for excellence in multicultural literature] and the Washington State Govenor's writer's Award. It was also named Best Children's Book of the year [1995] by the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association [PNBA] and was a PBS television "Storytime" selection during 1996-2001. Another award was the Washington State Governor's Writer's Award.

Paul Owen Lewis has published seven books for children, including Frog Girl, a campion to this book. Towards the backof this book, he notes, "common to all the world's mythologies is the Adventure of the Hero, whose pattern of experience renownedscholar Joseph Campbell describes the three rites of passage: separation, initiation, and return." He also notes that in no placeis this universal theme more powerfully represented than in the rich oral traditions and bold graphic art of the Haida, Tlinget,and other Native peoples of the Northwest Coast of North America."

Paul also gives a description of the Northwest Coast motifs of Separation, "wandering too far from the village invitessupernatural encounters," mysterious entrance to the Spirit World. A paragraph explaining the Initiation, animals encountered in human form and exchange of gifts and culture-"potlatching." Another paragraph of Return, object given to assist return, mysterious return by "wishing continually", time is out of joint, and claiming of a crest.

This book was carefully composed entirely of Native story elements both in narrative and art. He gives special thanks to Bill Holm and Jay Haavik for sharing their knowledge and encouragement, also to Chris Landon, Native cultural advisor, and tothe Northwest Coast people and culture. There is also a Teacher's Guide for this book available from Ten Speed Press.

At the last page he has a killer whale design and he dedicates this book for Kyle and LeAnn and portions of the proceedsis donated to the Haida Gwaii Rediscovery program for tribal youth. The summary of this story is about a young American Nativeboy is thrown from his canoe during an ocean storm and is washed ashore under a strange sky near a village inhibited by verylarge people who welcomes him.

These very large people are the killer whale people who welcomes him into their village and greets him as being a chief, since he is the chief's son. Everything is large in this village and the giant people seem to have been waiting for him. He soon becomes homesick, missing his family, so the chief tells him how to get home. It is a interesting mystic adventureof sharing and learning from each other. This book represents the rich mythic traditions of the Pacific Northwest Coast Native people, the Haida, Tlinget and other Natives of this region. Mr. Lewis's artwork expresses the culture with colorful totem poles,traditional regalia the dancers are wearing, the traditional boat the boy uses, his paddle, and headdresses the dancer's wear.

The reading level is 3.8, is recognized as a Accelerator reading book for our supplementary Accelerator Reading Program for our school. For Educators, Teachers can implement, "Storm Boy" in with a Literacy Program where students are given an opportunity to learn of Alaska's Pacific Northwest's Native People while studying Literature units on Legends orfiction trade books of a Culture. Another learning intergration would benefit the Art studies for Alaskan Native Art work and style and for Social Studies/Geogaphy for Alaska Studies.Ed 493

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.


Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
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Last modified August 14, 2006