Achimoona introduced by Maria Campbell.
Saskatoon, SK: Fifth House, 1985.. $14.95
This collection of eight stories was tucked in with the other more recent books from Fifth House. Its title, I learned in the introduction, is Cree for stories. The stories included in it were written by Native writers for children 8 and up. The stories are set in the present, but they resonate with timeless values, and dearly reflect the Native culture from which they come. The range from fantasy to realism, and in the best stories offer life lessons in an entertaining, accessible way. Some of the writers are more skilled than others, but even the weakest stories offer insight into Native life. Wonderful full-colour reproductions of works by Native artists accompany the stories.
My interest in the book, from a storyteller's point of view, was in Maria Campbell's introduction. Campbell addresses the young reader directly, explaining where stories come from,.and discussing the changing role of storytellers in Native culture. Stories, she says, are born in the mind, mom tune ay chi kun, the sacred place inside us where no one else can go. The thoughts and images that come from here are called wisdoms, and they are given to others in stories, songs, dances and art. Her description of how these contemporary storytellers prepared themselves for the task of producing this book is a fascinating one, and I thank her for sharing it, as well as the stories and art, with young readers. Achimoona is available in French and English. A teacher's guide is also avaiable, but it was not sent for review.
The Second Story Review, Vol 1, No. 2, Sep 1996