Forbidden Talent

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9780873586054: Forbidden Talent
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Ashkii, who lives on an Indian reservation with his grandparents, finds that his way of painting is in conflict with what his grandfather calls the "Navajo Way"

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 1-3?A modern Navajo boy whose grandfather is teaching him to create sandpaintings is told not to draw or paint just for enjoyment. Not understanding why, the youngster finds unusual ways to express himself?including decorating his dog and a horse with white clay. His confusion leads him to break a number of other taboos as well, and to make the observation, "I do everything forbidden and nothing bad happens." When he finally tells his grandfather all that he has done, the man assures him that he will understand "someday." The problem is, readers won't understand. The final page, on which the boy wins a blue ribbon for a painting, seems unconnected to the rest of the story. The strength of this book is in the colorful oil paintings. Nez uses light and color particularly successfully, filling his characters with expressions and their world with warmth and humor. He also excels at working Navajo words and phrases smoothly into the text. Unfortunately, most children will be baffled by the ending.?Darcy Schild, Schwegler Elementary School, Lawrence, KS
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

Ages 4^-8. There's both reverence and mischief in this autobiographical picture book about a Navajo boy and his grandfather on the reservation. Ashkii loves to paint, and he does it all the time. But his grandfather disapproves of painting for fun; he says that according to the Navajo Way, art is "work and prayer and beauty. It is for ceremony and healing." Ashkii can't stop himself; he paints everywhere, on every surface he can find. With white clay he puts spots on his dog. He paints his Grandfather's horse for the Fourth of July rodeo. He carves a mural on the side of a public water tank. In his first children's book, Nez's handsome oil paintings show the bond between Ashkii and Grandfather, both artists, both part of the land and hills around them. Children will laugh at Ashkii's play and will understand that his art is work and joy. Hazel Rochman

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