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Encounter

de Jane Yolen

Outros autores: David Shannon (Ilustrador)

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A Taino Indian boy on the island of San Salvador recounts the landing of Columbus and his men in 1492.
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The story of Christopher Columbus' first meeting with the indigenous peoples of the western hemisphere, when he and his men came ashore on San Salvador, on October 12, 1492, is here told from the perspective of a young Taino boy. After a terrible dream involving three white birds, the boy tries to warn his elders when three extraordinary 'canoes' show up on their shores, but to no avail. The white strangers, who seem almost human, are welcomed, and the consequences are terrible and long-lasting...

Published in 1992, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus' landfall on San Salvador, Encounter is meant to retell a familiar story - the 'discovery' of the 'New World' by Europeans - from an important but long-neglected perspective. The story does not reference many of the terrible things done by Columbus and his men directly. Rather, it concentrates on the narrator's first encounter with these strange non-quite human creatures, describes the feeling of unease the boy experiences, and his escape from their great ship, when he is taken away. After brief mention of his efforts to warn others, the narrative then skips ahead to the narrator's old age, as he looks back on the changes the coming of Europeans brought to his home island and region. On the whole, I find this approach quite constructive, and think it is age appropriate for younger children, perhaps six and under. It's important not to hide the terrible aspects of human history from children, but I believe it's equally important to consider the well-being of the child, when thinking of how to present that history to them. I have little patience with those who would whitewash history, but I have even less for those who would wallow in every historical atrocity, and insist that others do the same. When that insistence involves children, I become even less patient, as it often seems to me that such people preference their own desires - to share what they see as the truth, to feel righteous - over the psychological welfare of those most dependent upon them for protection and care.

All of which is to say, I prefer balance in these matters. Teach the truth, show multiple perspectives, and choose what specific narratives to share based on the developmental needs of the audience. I recently read three picture-book biographies of Christopher Columbus - David A. Adler's A Picture Book of Christopher Columbus, Peter Sís' Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus and Demi's Columbus - in order to mark Columbus Day, and each takes a different approach to this issue. The Adler mentions but does not explore the impact Columbus' voyages had on the people of the Caribbean, the Sís' does not explore the aftermath of that landfall on San Salvador whatsoever, and the Demi offers the fullest depiction of some of the deleterious effects of the arrival of Europeans in the Caribbean. Each approach would work best with a slightly different age group, and for a different purpose, whether to learn about Columbus' life or to explore what drives explorers to head off into the unknown. Whatever the focus may be however, each one of these books is told from the perspective of Columbus, making a book like Encounter valuable, in its presentation of the parallel perspective of the native Taino. The fact that it is told (mostly) from a child's perspective makes it more powerful, as do the striking illustrations of David Shannon. I would recommend this one as a companion volume to any of the biographies mentioned above, and think it could be used in a Columbus Day lesson for younger children, or even in a lesson about how perspective shapes the historical narratives we embrace as a culture. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Nov 6, 2020 |
Encounter tells the story of the meeting of the Indians with Christopher Columbus. The young Indian boy that is telling the story, tells of a dream that he has that feels like a warning to his people. He does not believe that the strangers that are entering the land of his people should be welcomed or trusted, but no one will listen to him because he is just a child. As history has played out, it turns out that the boy was right and that these new people with light moon like skin are not good people and want to change the ways that the Indians are living once they have earned their trust. The boy escapes and later reflects on what he always knew to be true.

This book would be a great example of how Christopher Columbus and the holiday that we celebrate is not all that it seems. It also demonstrates a story being told from a child's point of view and how sometimes because you are younger, adults may not always listen to what you are saying, even if you are right. ( )
  ashewert | Mar 27, 2020 |
Encounter is a book about how Christopher Columbus landed on the island and discovered were the Taino Indians. This story is told in a little Taino kid's point of view. It starts with the little boy having a dream and when he woke up the dream came true. He warns his people to not welcome and befriend the stranger but they did it anyway. Mesmerized by the gold and toys that the strangers had the Indians gave them everything they needed. The young boy was able to escape and many years later when he is an old man he looks back at all the destruction that these strangers has caused his people and their culture. ( )
  JPham4 | Nov 13, 2019 |
This book tells what the frightening encounter with Columbus and his invaders must have felt like to a young child. The story is told from the perspective of the young victim.
  francescaimig | Apr 17, 2019 |
When Christopher Columbus landed on the island of San Salvador in 1492, what he discovered were the Taino Indians. Told from a young Taino boy’s point of view, this is a story of how the boy tried to warn his people against welcoming the strangers, who seemed more interested in golden ornaments than friendship. Years later the boy, now an old man, looks back at the destruction of his people and their culture by the colonizers.
  wichitafriendsschool | Sep 29, 2017 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Yolen, Janeautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Shannon, DavidIlustradorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
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A Taino Indian boy on the island of San Salvador recounts the landing of Columbus and his men in 1492.

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