I have had this book on my list for a long time. I have read her previous book, A Shepherds Heart, and it was an instant classic to me and one to read to each of my three boys. She is a local Oregon author and has been making waves of literary awareness with beautifully written stories about hope and hardships. My only frustration is that I do not get to share her books enough with students.
I had the perfect opportunity while substitute teaching a fourth grade class to share this book. The class was in the middle of writing paragraphs about the NW Coastal Indians. (And I just happened to have her book in my bag!) I read from the middle and it was perfect for the students to gain an appreciation of how the character, Pearl, felt when she saw her ceremonial things being sold in a storefront. These students had wonderful mask totem poles out in the hallway and were creating amazing books about the artifacts and lives of the Coastal Indians. I love going into classrooms like this!
But, I believe until reading this book I never got the feeling of such loss and understanding of a group of people who began to diminish when museums came to buy their things. I’ve taken my kids to the museum. I have had multiple fieldtrips to the NW museums of Coastal Indians with student groups. Yet, this book is more than facts and flat legends of tribes of long ago. It is truly a connection piece to speak to a classroom or learner. As this book tells the story beyond facts and brings a reader near the time and place we can only wish to embrace a character for the saddness surrounding them.
Artfully done the author takes us to the steps of a child wandering in the midst of a struggling time. And when I visit the museum again the glass cases will seem so agonizingly different when I can only wish to hug those pieces of extraordinary beauty one more time for such a dear character as Pearl who knows what is lost in preservation.
It’s exciting when a book can be picked up and connected so well to learners. All the students thanked me for reading a short bit of this book to them. I hope many teachers can do the same to bring such a deep learning experience and heart to this topic. Accolades to Written In Stone! And more accolades for Rosanne Parry for touching beyond the filling in of facts to mere tests and core concepts but to a place we all wish learners can go. Perimeters of understanding.
It is a super book to read-a-loud for this historical content and it is perfect to read for a home school unit or just those who find themselves drawn to historical fiction. The author can be found here. http://rosanneparry.com/books/written-in-stone/ Check out the teacher’s guide and possibly get her to skype with your class!