This story by Barbara Winslow and illustrated by Teri Sloat depicts a Yupik coming-of-age ceremony for a young woman. As the young girl prepares herself to honor the living and the dead, the ancestors of her past, she looks forward to carrying out the ancient traditions of her community.
Under the evaluation rubric, I found this children’s story to meet the high quality standards (all 3’s) of literature, authority, and authenticity. Both the author and illustrator formally taught elementary school in the Yupik villages in Alaska. It is evidential that the language and setting are interwoven to depict the place accurately…many parts of the story such as the “acting out an old story of the bear hunt” and the “ax handles and fish traps” give an accurate sense of place. There were also many metaphors.
I would use this story as a starting point for students to connect music with place. Essential Questions: How does dance relate to music? How do other forms of art such as paintings and dance relate to music? Do you see a parallel between these art forms in your own culture? Discussing how music relates to milestones of life such as coming of age, marriage, and death in different cultures would pose as a great discussion (for example, “Here Comes the Bride” is a standard piece for marriage of American culture).