Grade 4-6-"Weaving is more than just a craft to the Navajos. It is an expression of the culture." Thus, Roessel shares his heritage with readers by describing how his mother taught his daughter how to work a loom. From the shearing of the sheep to the weaving itself, traditions, stories, and lively, full-color photographs bring the activities to life. There are three main aspects to the book: the story of Jaclyn and her grandmother; traditional stories; and factual information about Navajo life today. The first two are extremely well integrated. Unfortunately, the third section, while good in and of itself, interrupts the story line and makes it choppy. While some of the photographs are not captioned, and a few do not mesh with the text on the same page, they nonetheless enhance the information. A map showing the area discussed and a diagram of a loom are included. A brief, but clear, glossary is appended. This book will tie in nicely with the fictional favorite, The Goat in the Rug (Four Winds, 1984) by Charles L. Blood and Martin Link, and contrasts well with titles on European style weaving, such as The Weaver's Gift (Warne, 1981; o.p.) by Kathryn Lasky. On its own, Songs from the Loom will be a useful addition to collections on Native Americans in the modern world.
Darcy Schild, Schwegler Elementary School, Lawrence, KS
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Gr. 3^-6. As he photographs his mother teaching his 10-year-old daughter, Jaclyn, how to weave the Navajo way, Roessel does some fine weaving of his own. Roessel, more cultural emissary than passive observer, weaves bountiful insights regarding Navajo culture into his photo-essay, ranging from ancient stories about weaving to the current state of Navajo unemployment. Nali Ruth, Jaclyn's grandmother, lives on a reservation in Arizona and begins her teaching with a prayer "to the Sun and the Holy People so they will know you are learning the old ways." Shearing, carding, spinning, dyeing, and weaving--Nali Ruth takes Jaclyn step-by-step through the rug-making process, all the while sharing Navajo stories and perspectives. Both the process of weaving and the culture surrounding it are fascinating; the varied photographs communicate the culture's richness with equal aplomb. This is the eighth title in the We Are Still Here series. Julie Yates Walton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.