Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Turtle Island: The Story of North America’s First People

Annick Press 2017. 116 pages
First published: 2017
ISBN: 9781554519446 (hardcover)
9781554519439 (paperback)
Original language: English
Dewey: 970.004
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

layout, multigenre, multimodal, stance

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

“Instead of telling Turtle Island’s story through dates, we look at what life was like in different places across North America to celebrate the wisdom and ingenuity of the people.” This fully-illustrated non-fiction book uses Indigenous myth, oral history and archaeological data to touch on an abundance of fascinating cultures that flourished all over North America—hunting, planting, building, trading and making their mark through art.

An introductory chapter discusses the methodology behind the facts, showing how myth, artifacts and archaeological technologies can reveal major events and cultures of the past. Subsequent chapters discuss millennia of human habitation before the arrival of Europeans in brief sections and sidebars such as, “The Canals of the Hohokam (2,500 years ago)”: “turned 28,328 ha (70, 000 acres) of desert into fertile vegetable gardens.”

Every spread is lushly illustrated with photography and art reproductions set in an appealing design grid. One photo of a lifelike diorama shows a woman grinding corn against a backdrop of rock paintings, in the chapter “Listening to the Land: 8,000 to 3,000 years ago”. The facing page shows meat drying over a smoky flame (“Pemmican: A Superfood”). “Imagine” sidebars place readers in the thick of the action: “You are a Buffalo Runner (6,000 years ago)”, “You are a trader travelling to Cahokia (1,500 years ago”).

Two final chapters outline the trauma of European colonization up to and including today—along with new directions of positive change. Altogether, this innovative book uses a new and rewarding lens for viewing our North American heritage.

  •  

    Read “A Glimpse into the Past” on page 4, along with other front matter material, in order to inform a discussion of the way the text presents history.

  •  

    In small groups, choose a section and explore the texts and features included in each chapter. Discuss the type of information provided by the different text types.

  •  

    Read the final two chapters and write a reflection on the ideas presented. What is the final message of the book and why does it matter? Share ideas with other readers.

  •  

    In small groups, discuss when you believe the first humans stepped foot in North America. What was life like for them, up until and after European colonization?

  •  As you read, keep the time frame for each chapter in mind. How advanced was each civilization?
  •  Select a time frame or a people from the book and write one week’s journal entries as a teen living in that era.
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Personal Development
  • Social Sciences