Children -- K - 3

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SUNPAINTERS: ECLIPSE OF THE NAVAJO SUN, Written and illustrated by Baje Whitethorne, Northland Publishing: Flagstaff, AZ, c. 1994, second printing. 32 pp. color, hardcover, $14.95; ISBN 0-87358-587-9

A wonderful story, recounted by well-known Navajo artist Baje Whitethorne about a solar eclipse he witnessed on the Navajo reservation at age 7 -- and a story his grandpa told him then of Little People who are earth-painters. They renew the life of the sun, earth, and all objects, when the sun has died again, as it does occasionally. (At the end of the book is a very brief explanation -- which would have been clearer for kids with a couple of simple diagrams of the moon's shadow on earth) and several forthcoming dates/places of solar eclipses. And greatly improved by eliminating the rather condescending shallow remarks on tribal beliefs about eclipses.

The story itself is greatly enlivened by certain remembered realities. For example, Kii Leonard, the little boy, is hungry when the eclipse starts, almost at dinner time.. He almost forgets when Pipi, his grandpa, says: "'It is dark outside, but don't look at the sun. [That's good advice -- PG] Notice the deep purples and reds all around the mountainside..' Kii Leonard saw a strange gloom all around him. Everywhere he looked, the deep purple and red darkness was there." Pipi then tells Kii Leonard the story of the Na'ach'aabii, the Little people who repaint the sun when it dies -- and all the colors of the earth.

A beautiful and interesting book, very highly recommended. Would make good reading for elementary classes where studying the seasons and the earth's rorbit can also lead to discussion of eclipses.

Reviewed by Paula Giese

You can buy this book on-line from's web bookstore." Sunpainters : Eclipse of the Navajo Sun, Baje Whitethorne, Navajo. Clicking this title will take you to a filecard with a shopping cart, and instructions as you go. Or read about the on-line Bookstore here on my website, first, and from that page select the STARS shelf to return to Sunpainters.

File: children -- sunpainters.html

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Webmistress --Paula Giese. Text and graphics copyright 1996

Last Updated: 6/10/97