cover image People of the Breaking Day

People of the Breaking Day

Marcia Sewall. Atheneum Books, $17 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31407-0

In this companion volume to The Pilgrims of Plimoth , Sewall's gentle, often poetic text and impressionistic paintings present an intriguing portrait of the Wampanoags, the tribe that lived in southeastern Massachusetts when the first English settlers arrived. Described in the present tense, the daily routines and rituals of the tribe are brought to life for young readers. Similarly, Sewall's use of the first-person plural gives the narrative a sense of immediacy and authority. ``We'' alternately refers to the women, the men and the children of the tribe, enabling readers to hear the story from a variety of perspectives. The author weaves together information on many aspects of the Wampanoags' way of life, including legends, religious beliefs, wartime customs, trade with other Native American peoples and the roles of mothers, fathers and children within the family. Glossaries of English and Native American words make Sewall's account all the more accessible to children. Ages 6-up. (Oct.)