Literary Criticism

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Native American Picture Books of Change: Historic Children's Books

Rebecca C. Benes

In this book illustrated with 150 enchanting paintings and historical photographs, some from as early as 1922, the author describes the history and motivation behind some of the most exceptional children's books published in the United States. These picture book readers, originally developed for use in Indian schools during the New Deal, represent the first Native-centred texts used in Bureau of Indian Affairs curriculum. They were written by lauded writers, ethnologists, and linguists and illustrated with the stunning work of emerging and prominent Native American artists.


Rebecca C. Benes has explored a lifetime interest in children's literature as a gallery owner, a librarian, and as an adjunct professor of children's literature. She lives in the Denver area.

Gloria Emerson is a writer and artist involved in Navajo education and linguistics. She founded and directed the Native American Materials Development Center in Albuquerque.


"Beautifully illustrated with over one hundred color plates and 44 black-and-white illustrations and offering fascinating accounts of the preservation of Native American stories, this important book will greatly benefit the fields of both children's and Native American literature."


Library Journal

Published By Museum of New Mexico Press

11 x 9 in. 176 pages 106 color plates, 44 black-and-white illustrations