Rain Taxi reviews Carnival Lights

By Shannon Gibney

An impressive work about family, survival, and what one character calls the “spiral” of all stories, Chris Stark’s Carnival Lights is part novel, part Minnesota history, part spiritual tome, and part brutal account of white racial and sexual violence. Centering on several generations of one Ojibwe family in both the northern and southern parts of the state and spanning the years 1860 to 1969, the book deftly shows how whites used land theft, intimidation, and sheer force to try to exterminate and remove Native communities, but also how the victims resisted and fought to keep their ways of life.

Even through so much devastation and loss, Carnival Lights asserts that the land—and everything living on it—remembers. At one point Sher recalls finding her father frozen to death in a field:

The trees, their outstretched arms and fingers cradling delicate lines of snow, heard and saw all of it, and it became part of them, recorded in their beings, in their flesh. Ring after ring, year after year, the Standing People recorded the story of the land. They absorbed, held, witnessed. The Standing People. The libraries of the earth. The collectors of knowledge, their limbs arching over the land, over life. Holding. Bending. Protecting.

The Standing People bearing witness to horrible acts of violence against the Ojibwe is one of the central themes in the book, and it provides a sense of accountability, if not consequence, for the ongoing and pernicious attacks.

Read the full review on Rain Taxi

Cady and the Birchbark Box [PB]

SKU 978-1-61599-651-3
$16.95
Cady Whirlwind Thunder Mystery #2
In stock
1
Product Details
UPC: 978-1-61599-651-3
Brand: Modern History Press
Binding: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Author: Ann Dallman
Illustrator: Joanna Walitalo
Pages: 146
Publication Date: 05/01/2022

In Cady and the Birchbark Box, Cady Whirlwind Thunder solves the mystery behind a weathered journal found inside an old birchbark box. Why was the box buried behind a deserted garage? This is the question her friend and "crush," John Ray Chicaug, asks Cady after the two of them find it. And what meaning do the notes in the book have? Cady's grandma and her ever-present companion, a noisy blue jay, encourage her as she puts together the pieces and ultimately restores the reputation of a deceased elder. Cady does all this while navigating through another school year, earning a place on the school's soccer team and continuing to calm her temper and adjust to life with a new stepmother and baby brother.

"I love Cady and the Birchbark Box. I read it with my daughter, who is very interested in Native American culture. The book is a fun adventure, sprinkled with history and culture. It is a great book for kids and adults alike. Great read!"-- August Brill, M.S., bilingual teacher, Chicago public schools
"This well-crafted, beautiful novel immerses readers in the elegance of Native American culture as it delivers an emotional, intriguing mystery that readers from middle grade through adults will enjoy. Highly recommended! "-- Christine DeSmet, author of Fudge Shop Mystery Series

"Ann Dallman's writing is a teacher's dream come true. Cady is a character students can relate to and learn from. While Cady is learning about her Native American culture and traditions, readers become immersed in a culture they may not have knowledge of." -- Gina Zanon, 5th-grade teacher, Menominee, MI

"Another great mystery with our strong Anishnaabe Kwe Cady! As with the first book in this series, Cady and the Birchbark Box gives the reader insight into life on a Native American Reservation while also taking them on an exciting journey! The characters feel authentic and the use of Native traditions sprinkled throughout makes this book feel like home. I got sucked into the story immediately and love a good mystery! Native readers (children and adults alike) will feel seen and I wish I had this series to read when I was a child. I am thrilled that my children will grow up with Cady on their bookshelf. We will read of her adventures while drinking ginger ale and sitting outside with the blue jays. Until next time Cady, bama pi." --Larissa Wandahsega, Hannahville Indian Community member

Learn more at www.AnnDallman.com

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