American Indians •  Children and Language/Linguistics

$19.95 hardcover

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Giveaways: An ABC Book of Loanwords from the Americas

Linda Boyden

Did you know that the okra plant and the word "okra"" were introduced to the Americas from Africa? Or that "squash"" was first a word from the language of the Narragansett tribe of New England? According to etymologists-people who study words, languages, and word histories-many languages grow by adopting words from other languages, or loanwords. American English is a giant stew, simmering with loanwords like "okra" and "squash."

In her latest book, Linda Boyden shares an alphabet list of indigenous loanwords from North, South, and Central America that have found their way into common usage either nationally or regionally. "Nene," for example, is the Hawaiian name for a goose native to the islands and the official state bird. From "abalone"" to "zopilote," Boyden celebrates the cultural diversity of American English while her brilliantly colored collage illustrations and simple, direct text reveal the flexibility and adaptability of language to young readers.


Linda Boyden is a former elementary school teacher and author of Powwow's Coming (University of New Mexico Press) and The Blue Roses. The latter won the 2003 Paterson Prize in its age category, the Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers' Book of the Year for Children's Literature, 2002–2003, and was included on the prestigious CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center) 2003 Choices list of recommended titles.


"This is no mere word-and-picture-for-every-letter alphabet book...An ebullient and salutary...reminder of our cultural and linguistic heritage."


Kirkus Reviews

"Through the engaging and chatty prose, students will learn many 'weirdly wonderful' facts....Full-page, cheerful collages in warm colors and high-quality printing make this volume inviting."


School Library Journal

"An alphabet book, cultural diversity primer, and lesson on environmental sustainability all rolled into one delightful children's book, Giveaways is an equally entertaining read for adults."


Bloomsbury Review

"A children's picture book from a university press is a true rarity, though given Linda Boyden's impressively researched premise -- 'loanwords' from North, South, and Central America that have been appropriated into everyday American English -- is a natural, and most accessible to boot."


Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

" Giveaways is a fine picture book, very highly recommended."


Midwest Book Review

"This book is a true celebration of words that every parent should purchase and enjoy it side-by-side with their children...its that good! The facts, figures, information, and wonderful illustrations come together to offer a fun read that will lead many to pick up a dictionary to find out more, or head back to college to become an etymologist...just to be able to say that word out loud on many, many occasions."


Feathered Quill Book Reviews

"This is a lovely book for school or home, offering hours of riveting reading for etymologists of all ages."


California Kids

10 x 8.5 in. 40 pages 27 color illustrations