Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Recommended: Daniel W. Vandever's FALL IN LINE, HOLDEN

I love Daniel W. Vandever's Fall In Line, Holden

Published this year (2017) by Salina Bookshelf, it is a terrific picture book about a Navajo boy. Here's the description from the publisher's website:
Fall in Line, Holden! follows Holden, a young Navajo boy, through his day at boarding school. Although Holden is required to conform to a rigid schedule and strict standards of behavior, his internal life is led with imagination and wonder. Whether he is in art class, the computer lab, or walking the hall to lunch, Holden’s vivid imagination transforms his commonplace surroundings into a world of discovery and delight.
Explore the world through Holden’s eyes. Join him for the day, and celebrate the strong spirit of a boy who rises above the rules surrounding him.
In an interview at the Salina Bookshelf Youtube channel, you can hear directly from Vandever about the book and how it came to be. He cites statistics, too, about the lack of books that can function as mirrors for Native kids. My hunch is he saw CCBC's data

Holden--the little boy in the story--is a combination of the author, his dad, and his nephew. Three things that especially appeal to me are...

First, that the little boy's imagination is the heart of the story. Turning the pages, you'll see what Holden sees--and what the rest of us miss--when we stand in rigid spaces. I could easily see teachers using it and alongside John Herrington's Mission to Space 

Second, the art! When people think "American Indian" (or "Native American") a certain imagery or style comes to mind. Vandever blows that expectation away with his own graphic style. Studying it, I'm reminded of Phil Deloria's book Indians in Unexpected Places. We are, and do, so much more than mainstream society knows. In that regard, Vandever's book is outstanding. 

Third, Vandever's notes provide teachers with important context about Native peoples and education. 

I hope he writes another book, and of course, I highly recommend that you get a copy of Fall in Line, Holden! for your classroom or library!  

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