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Meet Lydia: A Native Girl from Southeast…
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Meet Lydia: A Native Girl from Southeast Alaska

by Miranda Belarde-Lewis

Other authors: John Harrington (Photographer)

Series: My World: Young Native Americans Today

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Non-Fiction: Picturebook
Belarde-Lewis, Miranda Meet Lydia: A Native Girl from Southeast Alaska. Photographs by John Harrington. Council Oak Books, 2004. 48p. Middle school and up
This book tells about the busy life of ten year old Lydia Mills, a young Tlingit girl, in northern Southeast Alaska. Lydia lives in Juneau in the winter and travels to Hoonah and Excursion Inlet every summer. This informative book talks about the history, ceremonies, and traditions of Tlingit culture; including regalia, dancing, festivals, language, and stories but also about modern life. Told in the first person, this warm tale has a Tlingit culture theme.
AK: Tlingit culture, Juneau, Hoonah, Excursion Inlet, fishing
Activities: Ask children to tell you something they learned from this book. What is something they didn’t know about Tlingits that they now do because of reading this? Is there something else they would like to know about Tlingits that we can look up or ask a Tlingit elder about? ( )
  LoriOrtega | Jul 20, 2015 |
The third entry in The (Smithsonian) National Museum of the American Indian's My World: Young Native Americans Today series that I have read - the other two being Meet Christopher: An Osage Indian Boy from Oklahoma and Meet Naiche: A Native Boy from the Chesapeake Bay Area - this informative and engaging picture-book biography tells the story of a young Tlingit girl, ten-year-old Lydia Mills, and her life in Alaska. Like the other volumes in the series, Meet Lydia: A Native Girl from Southeast Alaska is written by an older relative of the child being profiled (Miranda Belarde-Lewis is of mixed Tlingit and Zuni heritage), and photographed by a native photographer (John Harrington is of Siletz extraction).

The focus here is on Lydia's life as a contemporary young American, someone who, although she is a part of a traditional culture, also lives in the here and now. Given the superfluity of romanticized, historical depictions of Native Americans, in both children's and adult literature, this is something that can't be emphasized too much! From school activities like playing the trombone, and helping out in the Tlingit language enhancement kindergarten class, to participating in Girls Scouts, and the Juneau Indian Studies culture club, Lydia is one active girl, dividing her time between her winter life with her Euro-American mother, and her summer days with her Tlingit father.

I enjoyed reading Lydia's story, which offered me a brief glimpse of life in a very different part of the country from my own region (I live in the New York metro area), and I think young readers will enjoy it as well. The color photographs and historical and cultural background given, add both educational and entertainment appeal. All in all, another winner from the fabulous series! Now, if I could only find the initial volume, Meet Mindy: A Native Girl from the Southwest! ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 30, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miranda Belarde-Lewisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Harrington, JohnPhotographersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Follow the daily life of a young Tlingit girl, Lydia Mills, and explore the history, ceremonies, and traditions of her unique tribe and culture, including Tlingit traditions, ceremonial clothing, festivals, and stories.
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