Read When Clay Sings by Byrd Baylor Free Online
Book Title: When Clay Sings|
The author of the book: Byrd Baylor
Edition: Aladdin Paperbacks
Date of issue: April 30th 1987
ISBN 13: 9780689711060
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 692 KB
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Reader ratings: 3.1
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While I have indeed both liked and appreciated Tom Bahti's Caldecott Honour winning illustrations (they are expressive, seem authentic to my eyes, with their black, brown and occasionally yellow colour schemes truly making one feel as though one is in fact looking at bona fide clay shards, at actual vestiges of Native American pasts), Byrd Baylor's poems, while most definitely interesting and informative (and also obviously trying very hard to be respectful) still to and for me have rather too much of a paternalistic substratum present at times (with Native American children and their families appearing more like subjects to be analysed and studied by outsiders and thus not really being given their own voices, being granted the important opportunity to actually tell their stories, their personal experiences). And sorry, but some of the poems contained in, featured in When Clay Sings have actually and very uncomfortably felt rather problematically condescending and with a certain sense of an all-knowing "well, we white people do know better" (or at least this has been my personal reaction when I for instance read the poem about the "medicine man" as to my eyes and to my ears Byrd Baylor seems to describe the medicine man as though his ministrations to an ill Native American boy are simply "magic" and thus unrealistic, perhaps even rather naive).
Now while I would not go so far as to not recommend When Clay Sings (as Byrd Baylor's texts, her poems, do contain much of potential interest and Tom Bahti's accompanying illustrations are indeed spectacular) the author's presented poems do warrant discussion and the I think necessary warning that if I have found some of Byrd Baylor's attitudes and words paternalistic and sometimes potentially negative and condescendingly critical, even if this is most probably unintentional from the author, how would Native Americans themselves feel (and WHY is When Clay Sings so inherently and massively generalising, why do the poems seem to basically talk as though ALL Native Americans were and are somehow one and the same, one all encomapssing huge entity, when there are and always have been many nations, many different Native American tribes, each with distinct cultures, histories, stories and lifestyles, and this also holds true for the area of the American Southwest, on which the narrative and accompanying pictorial renderings of When Clay Sings appear to be based).
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Read information about the authorByrd Baylor has always lived in the Southwest, mainly in Southern Arizona near the Mexican border. She is at home with the southwestern desert cliffs and mesas, rocks and open skies. She is comforted by desert storms. The Tohono O’odham people, previously known as the Papagos, are her neighbors and close friends. She has focused many of her writings on the region’s landscape, peoples, and values. Through her books of rhythmic prose poetry, written primarily for children, she celebrates the beauty of nature and her own feelings of rapport with it.
Byrd has written many books for children.
Her books have been honored with many prestigious children’s book awards, including the Caldecott Award and the Texas Bluebonnet Award. All of her books are full of the places and the peoples that she knows. She thinks of these books as her own kind of private love songs to the place she calls home.
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