Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the tag “Navaho Nation”

YA Book Review: Silki, The Girl of Many Scarves: Summer of the Ancient

Something isn’t right on Concho Mountain.

Someone or something is out there.

Silki knows it, and Silki’s horse, Smiles, knows it.

What? A snake? A mountain lion? A wild, winged creature with an agonizing shriek? An Ancient Ant Man looking to settle a grudge?

Silki’s active imagination and Smiles’ skittishness force a hasty retreat back to the safe confines of the family compound.

Silki races to tell her “extreme tale” (another one!) to Birdie, her best friend (former best friend?), but Birdie’s mind is already on her new, cool, more sophisticated (and normal) volleyball friends. Besides, Birdie is secretly just a little freaked out by Silki’s fantastic stories of a revenge-seeking Ancient Ant Man who demands the return of sacred relics they have collected near Red Rocks on the Rez (Navajo reservation).

This engaging book, written by Jodi Lea Stewart, has several themes. Being an adolescent, one theme, is not easy with its sometimes wobbly friendships, divided loyalties, and changing interests. Add some mystery, let’s say scary mystery, and you have a spell-binding story. Now add Navajo culture and traditions, a few characters with long-held secrets, a bit of odd behavior now and then, a kidnapping, and… I’m breathless!

Open the book to any page, and you will find exquisite writing with descriptions fresh and alive. The story begins on “a sweet pepperminty day in the high country when spring teases winter into moving over a little” and goes on from there. Upper elementary and junior high teachers will delight in using this book and having students pick out their favorite passages.

Here’s a little teaser.

What was I doing? It was more than just boredom egging me on. It was like I was uncorking a bottle and all the troubled Wol-la-chee liquid was pouring out and I couldn’t stop it no matter what. A thrilling craziness pulled me like a magnet.

The thrilling craziness in this book kept me up ’til the wee hours of the morning. I loved the book, and now I am sending it to my twelve-year-old granddaughter who lives in Arizona.

Hurry up, Jodi, and finish the second book in the Summer of the Ancient series. I want to know what happens next.

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