________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 12 . . . . February 2, 2007

cover The Moccasins.

Earl Einarson. Illustrated by Julie Flett.
Penticton, BC: Theytus Books, 2005.
16 pp., pbk., $10.95.
ISBN 1-894778-14-6.
 
Subject Headings:
Einarson, Earl, 1962- -Childhood and youth-Juvenile literature.
Native children-Canada-Juvenile literature.
Foster children-Canada-Juvenile literature.
Moccasins-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 4-6.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.
 
*** /4  

excerpt:  

My foster mother gave me moccasins to wear in the house. They were fine soft shoes made of tanned leather with a beaded pattern on top. She told me that my background was Native and that it was a good thing to be. She told me to wear my moccasins proudly. The hide smelled good, like a cozy campfire. They made me feel warm and loved. 

In just 13 pages, Earl Einarson, a member of the Ktunaxa First Nation, effectively reminds readers of the importance of raising children in an environment of love and safety, one which provides a positive connection to the children’s cultural heritage. While foster homes often provide a safe, loving setting, they sometimes overlook responding to the foster child’s natal roots. Such was not the case for Earl Einarson, because, as the excerpt indicates, Einarson’s foster mother provided him with a tangible connection to his culture while telling him to be proud of his Native heritage. The text indicates that Einarson and his moccasins became virtually inseparable until, after the footwear had undergone many mendings, Einarson simply outgrew them. “My foster mother said it was time to put them away. We put them in a box and packed them away.”
internal art

     Years later, after Einarson married and he and his wife had a child, “my foster mother brought a gift. It was a box. Inside the box were my old moccasins.” What “used to make [Einarson] feel warm and loved” will now be passed on to his new son, along with the feelings of being safe, loved and proud of being Native.
           
     The simple, but evocative, storyline is superbly reinforced by Julie Flett’s spare illustrations which occupy one page of each pair of facing pages.

Recommended.
 

Dave Jenkinson teaches in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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