________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 12. . . .November 22, 2013


Keepers of the Night: Native American Stories and Nocturnal Activities for Children.

Michael J. Caduto & Joseph Bruchac. Illustrated by David Kanietakeron Fadden, Jo Levasseur & Carol Wood.
Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing (Distributed in Canada by Codasat), 1994/2013.
146 pp., trade pbk., $21.95.
ISBN 978-1-55591-177-5.

Subject Headings:
Indians of North America-Legends.
Nature study-Activity programs.
Nocturnal animals-North America.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Rachel Yaroshuk.

*** /4



Now it was dark and the forest was filled with shadows, but still Chipmunk did not stop eating.

Suddenly Chipmunk heard a sound. She stopped eating and listened. For the first time she realized how dark it was in the forest and she was afraid. The sound grew louder. It was the sound of leaves rustling and twigs breaking. Someone was walking toward her and the footsteps were coming closer. Then the sound stopped. Chipmunk looked down and what she saw was so frightening that she almost screamed. There was the oldest of the Owl Sisters right below her.


Keepers of the Night is an excellent school resource for introducing children to Aboriginal world views. The book is comprised of seven story packages which may be used as teaching tools in the classroom. The stories are divided by subject nature and include one story about nocturnal animals, one story about nocturnal insects and plants, two stories about astronomy, two stories about night activities, and one story about healing.

internal art     Each traditional story acknowledges the First Nations culture in which the story originated. An accompanying map helps readers situate where these different cultural groups traditionally resided. The stories are typically one to three pages long, making them ideal for sharing in the oral tradition. The stories are accompanied by beautiful black and white ink drawings that artistically represent the events and characters in each story. Following each story is a discussion prompt to help teachers explain the storyís context. The discussion prompts relate the story to First Nations traditional world views and emphasize mankindís interconnection with the natural world.

     Following the discussion prompts, there is a list of questions to encourage student reflection. Some of the questions are focussed more on story comprehension while others encourage children to reflect on the greater meaning of the story and how it relates to their daily life.

     Once a story has been shared, and students have reflected on the story via class discussion, Keepers of the Night offers suggestions for activities to solidify and expand the learning of the story. Activity suggestions include field trips, demonstrations, experimentation, and further discussion. Each story is accompanied by at least one activity with recommendations as to which age group the activity would appeal to. While most of the activities seem aimed at grades 3-8, there are many activities that could suit the needs of older or younger children with little or no modification. The activities section is often accompanied with black and white diagrams or photographs to help convey the activity details and execution.

     Keepers of the Night is an excellent teacher resource that guides learning opportunities through the medium of storytelling and personal experience. The beginning of the book actually includes one chapter to help guide teachers in the use of this book. It is a versatile resource which could easily be incorporated into basic science, social studies or language arts lessons. Readers may have seen this title previously published. The book is essentially the same, with slight modifications to the cover. If you have not had a chance to acquire this title, I recommend picking up a copy of the reprint.


Rachel Yaroshuk is currently working as an Auxiliary Librarian at North Vancouver District Public Library.

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

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