cover image Hiawatha and the Peacemaker

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker

Robbie Robertson, illus. by David Shannon. Abrams, $19.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4197-1220-3

Robertson, best known for his work with musical group The Band, collaborates with Shannon on a sadly relevant story about choosing peace over violence, recounting the story of how Mohawk warrior Hiawatha joined forces with a spiritual leader known as the Peacemaker to unite five warring tribes. It’s no easy task, as Hiawatha must overcome his own anger and desire for revenge—Tadodaho, chief of the Onondaga tribe, destroyed his home and killed his family. A departure from the playfulness of books like No, David and How I Became a Pirate, Shannon’s penetrating oil paintings expressively capture the initial tension and uncertainty with which these messengers of peace are met, and the tranquility that replaces it. As the unified nations finally approach the murderous Tadodaho, they find a man “Hunched over, withered, and twisted,” snakes coursing through his hair—yet not beyond the healing power of forgiveness. Extensive endnotes and a CD that includes a song written and performed by Robertson underscore the author’s evident emotional connection to this story and passion for passing it on. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Ryan Harbage, Fischer-Harbage Agency. (Sept.)