Thursday, October 15, 2020

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson


Singer and songwriter from the legendary musical group The Band teamed up with artist David Shannon for this retelling of the Hiawatha legend. Young readers are the target audience but readers of any age could and should enjoy this vibrant, wonderful book. In this telling, the Mohawk Hiawatha has lost his family in battle and wants revenge until he meets a Peacemaker who wants to unite the tribe. A journey of discovery ensues that transforms Hiawatha and eventually unites the five nations. The book includes a CD featuring an original song by Robertson. A great story with great artwork make this a fine book for any family to share with their children, and its message of hope is always relevant. The facts, myths and legends surrounding Hiawatha have long fascinated me, initially from having seen the nearly forgotten but once acclaimed Hiawatha Pageant created by Carl Parlasca in Elgin, Illinois in the 1960s. The Hiawatha Pageant was inspired by and utilized the text of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1855 poem, The Song of Hiawatha. Both the Hiawatha Pageant and Longfellow’s poem combined facts with large doses of fiction, but both also handled the material with dignity, if not reverence. Robbie Robertson’s Hiawatha and the Peacemaker is a welcome and exciting addition to the literature of Hiawatha. This book can easily be utilized as a teaching tool for young readers. Adding it to your home library is sure to inspire discussion, an interest in history, all while firing up your children’s imagination. Recommended!

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