cover image Journal of Julia Singing Bear

Journal of Julia Singing Bear

Jewel Grutman, Gay Matthaei. Legacy Words, $19.95 (80pp) ISBN 978-1-56566-095-3

A worthy successor to the trio's previous work, The Ledgerbook of Thomas Blue Eagle, this inventive companion book poses as a combination journal and ""photo album"" (actually black-and-white paintings) to chronicle a fictitious Lakota girl's life in the late 19th century. Both a coming-of-age tale and a moving look at the waning of a native people's way of life, the story is firmly rooted in its historical context. Readers learn about Julia's early years with her family in the Black Hills, about ""Custer Long Hair,"" as Julia dubs him, and his defeat in the Dakota Territory, and about Julia's removal to the Carlisle School in Pennsylvania, an actual institution where hundreds of Native American children were sent to be ""civilized."" Julia encounters both kindness and vicious ignorance during her six-year sojourn, and eventually finds a way to reconcile her Indian self (represented throughout the book visually in vibrantly colored designs based on Lakota quill embroidery) and her new self, educated in the white man's tradition (represented through the black-and-white ""photographs"" she collects). A seamless, poignant blend of fact and fiction. Ages 8-up. (Sept.)