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Joseph Bruchac lives with his wife, Carol, in the Adirondack mountain foothills town of Greenfield Center, New York, in the same house where his maternal grandparents raised him. Much of his writing draws on that land and his Abenaki ancestry. Although his American Indian heritage is only one part of an ethnic background that includes Slovak and English blood, those Native roots are the ones by which he has been most nourished. He, his younger sister Margaret, and his two grown sons, James and Jesse, continue to work extensively in projects involving the preservation of Abenaki culture, language and traditional Native skills. (See ndcenter.org)
He is the author of more than 120 books for adults and children, including the best-selling Keepers of the Earth series (co-authored with Michael Caduto), which uses traditional American Indian stories to teach science and now has over a million copies in print. Recent books include At the End of Ridge Road, an autobiography, Jim Thorpe, Original All America, a novel, Foot of the Mountain, a collection of his short stories, Ndakinna/Our Land, new and selected poems, and Code Talker, a novel about Navajo Marines in World War II.
His honors include a Rockefeller Humanities fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Writing Fellowship for Poetry, the Knickerbocker Award, the Hope S. Dean Award for Notable Achievement in Children's Literature, the Virginia Hamilton Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas.
As a professional teller of the traditional tales of the Adirondacks and the Native peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands, Joe has performed widely in Europe and throughout the United States from Florida to Hawaii. His hobbies include gardening and traditional American Indian crafts. He has also been a martial arts teacher for more than thirty years, focussing in particular on Pencak-silat, the martial art of Indonesia.
ages 10 and up, ISBN 978-0803733763
Young Prince Rashko is frustrated with his family - no one does any thinking but him! The kingdom and castle seem to be in the hands of fools. So when Rashko's parents mysteriously disappear and the evil Baron Temny parks his army outside the castle walls, it is up to the young prince to save the day. But there is more to this castle and its history than meets the eye, and Rashko will have to embrace his ancestry, harness a dragon, and use his sword-fighting skills to stop the baron and save the kingdom. Along the way, he realizes that his family is not quite as stupid as he always thought.
|Layups and Long Shots
stories by nine authors
Darby Creek Publishing, 2008
ages 9 to 12, ISBN 978-1581960785
In the tradition of Sports Shorts (2005), Darby Creek has another serving of sports-related short stories. Purely fiction, these stories tell the tales of athletes in a variety of sports, including track, football, martial arts, Ping Pong, and dirt bike riding. The characters face obstacles to overcome such things as being overweight, being overconfident, and being impatient. Reluctant readers will enjoy these short pieces, each with a memorable character and a relatable problem.
|March Toward the Thunder
ages 12 and up, ISBN 978-0803731882
Louis Nolette is a fifteen-year-old Abenaki Indian from Canada who is recruited to fight in the northern Irish Brigade in the war between the states. Even though he is too young, and not American or Irish, he finds the promise of good wages and the Union’s fight to end slavery persuasive reasons to join up. But war is never what you expect, and as Louis fights his way through battle after battle, he encounters prejudice and acceptance, courage and cowardice, and strong and weak leadership in the most unexpected places.
Darby Creek, 2007
ages 12 and up, ISBN 978-1-58196-062-4
Fatherless Cody LeBeau is an American Indian boy who is starting high school with the usual trepidation. He fits into none of the cliques at the new school, but somehow keeps being noticed anywayand not in a good way. Two guys bully Cody almost daily, but he’s not the biggest target at his school. That distinction belongs to a loner nicknamed “Stump” because of his odd shape. Out of the blue, Cody’s Uncle John, an accomplished Ultimate Fighting martial-arts competitor and someone Cody never even knew existed, moves in with Cody and his mom. He has his own secrets, but may be the only one who can show Cody “the way” out of victimization and into manhood.
ages 12 and up, ISBN 978-0061123092
As a member of the Mohawk Bear Clan, Baron has always been fascinated by bearstheir gentle strength and untamed power. But the Bearwalker legend, passed down by his ancestors, tells of a different kind of creaturea terrible mix of human and animal that looks like a bear but is really a bloodthirsty monster. The tale never seemed to be more than a scary story. Until now.
During a class camping trip deep in the Adirondacks, Baron comes face-to-face with an evil being that is all too real. Although he knows how the story ends in the legend, Baron must overcome this Bearwalker on his own terms.
|The Return of Skeleton Man
ages 9 to 12, ISBN 978-0-0605-8090-2
It's not over, that voice says. Some dreams, rabbit, are like this one I just sent you. They are messages and warnings.
And even though it sends a shiver down my spine, I understand what this message, this warning, means.
Skeleton Man will return.
Molly thought she'd put her traumatic past behind her when she escaped from Skeleton Man last year. She rescued her parents and tried to get her life back to the way it used to be. She thought her family would live happily ever after and just be normal again. She thought wrong.
Skeleton Man is back for revengebut this time Molly is ready.
In this long-awaited sequel to the award-winning Skeleton Man, Joseph Bruchac revisits his most terrifying villain yet.
Wabi was born an owla great horned owl who grew to become such a strong, confident creature that he was afraid of nothing. But now he is afraid. He fears that he might never win the heart of the girl he loves. Somehow, despite his own intentions, he has fallen in love with a girl a beautiful, headstrong human girl. And so he begins the adventure of his life. He shape-shifts into human form in order to be with her. But before he can win her love, he must face an even greater challenge in a land he comes to think of as the Valley of Monsters.
Exhilarating, unique, and told in an engagingly wry narrative voice, this is a fantasy that weaves together classic elements of folklore, romance, and most of all, adventure.
|Jim Thorpe, Original All-American
ages 11 to adult, ISBN 978-0-80373-118-9
Jim Thorpe was one of the greatest athletes who ever lived. He played professional football, Major League Baseball, and won Olympic gold medals in track & field. But his life wasn’t an easy one. Born on the Sac and Fox Reservation in 1887, he encountered much family tragedy, and was sent as a young boy to various Indian boarding schoolsstrict, cold institutions that didn’t allow their students to hold on to their Native American languages and traditions. Jim ran away from school many times, until he found his calling at Pennsylvania’s Carlisle Indian School. There, the now-legendary coach Pop Warner recognized Jim’s athletic excellence and welcomed him onto the football and track teams.
Focusing on Jim Thorpe’s years at Carlisle, this book brings his early athletic careerand especially his college football daysto life, while also dispelling some myths about him and movingly depicting the Native American experience at the turn of the twentieth century. This is a book for history buffs as well as sports fansan illuminating and lively read about a truly great American.
ages 11 to adult, ISBN 978-0-43935-360-1
"He held up his right hand to show how his third finger was bent back from being struck by a bullet. Then he thumped his palm against his chest, his shoulder, his thigh, touching places where bullets and knives had pierced his flesh...where scars showed how hard it was to kill Geronimo..." After years of standing against the U.S. government, the great warrior and spiritual leader Geronimo's life is coming to an end, as his grandson visits him where he is imprisoned, in Fort Sill, OK in 1908.
a Novel about the Navajo Marines of World War II
ages 11 to adult, ISBN 978-0-80372-921-6
Throughout World War II, in the conflict fought against Japan, Navajo code talkers were a crucial part of the U.S. effort, sending messages back and forth in an unbreakable code that used their native language. They braved some of the heaviest fighting of the war, and with their code, they saved countless American lives. Yet their story remained classified for more than twenty years.
But now Joseph Bruchac brings their stories to life for young adults through the riveting fictional tale of Ned Begay, a sixteen-year-old Navajo boy who becomes a code talker. His grueling journey is eye-opening and inspiring. This deeply affecting novel honors all of those young men, like Ned, who dared to serve, and it honors the culture and language of the Navajo Indians.
Darby Creek Publishing, 2003
ages 9 to 12, ISBN 978-1-5819-6002-0
Contemporary realistic fiction that incorporates background information on a specific Native American culture but does not overwhelm readers is far too rare. In Warriors, Bruchac introduces Jake Forrest, a young teenager who leaves the Iroquois reservation where he was raised to live with his mother, a lawyer in Maryland, and attend a prestigious private boy's school. Like many kids his age, Jake wrestles with the difficulties of moving to a new city, fitting in at a new school, and trying to make the best of his one-parent family. Additionally, he endures many little offenses, like the nickname "Chief," and bigger ones, like the biased presentation of events in history class. Throughout the novel, the author mixes just the right amount of universal teen experience and culturally specific perspective to make Jake's story appealing to a broad audience. Plus, as a sports novel, Warriors is just plain fun, with action-packed descriptions of lacrosse that put readers right on the field with the players. One hopes that books like this will encourage more teens, from all ethnic backgrounds, to recognize and internalize their own traditions instead of opting for mainstream popular culture. Sean George, School Library Journal
|Heart of a Chief
ages 9 to adult, ISBN 978-0-80372-276-7
Chris's life is complicated. At school, he's been selected to lead a project on sports teams with Indian names. At home, on the Penacook reservation, the Indians are divided about building a casino. It would destroy the beautiful island Chris thinks of as his own. Is there anything one sixth-grade boy can do?
|Girl Who Married the Moon
written with Gayle Ross
Troll Communications, 1994
ages 4 to 8, ISBN 978-0-81673-480-1
This collection of traditional stories explores the significance of a young girl's rite of passage into womanhood. Each of these stories originated in the oral tradition and have been carefully researched. Joseph Bruchac, author of the best-selling Keeper's of the Earth series, and noted storyteller, has been entrusted with stories from elders of other native nations which ensures that the stories collected in The Girl Who Married the Moon are authentic.
Fulcrum Publishing, 1993
ages 11 to adult, ISBN 0-8234-1622-4
This acclaimed first novel starring Young Hunter, an Abenaki dedicated to becoming a pure hunter, provides readers with an unforgettable story and a greater understanding of Native American peoples.
|Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back
written with Jonathan London
illustrated by Thomas Locker
ages 6 and up, ISBN 978-0-3992-2141-5
Celebrates the seasons of the year through poems from the legends of such Native American tribes as the Cherokee, Cree, and Sioux.
|Turtle's Race with Beaver
written with Jim Bruchac
illustrated by Ariane Dewey and Jose Aruego
Puffin reprint, 2005
ages 9 to 12, ISBN978-0-1424-0466-9
Turtle lives in a beautiful little pond with everything a happy turtle needs. But one spring, Turtle awakes from hibernation to discover that her lovely home has been invaded! A pushy beaver takes over Turtle’s beloved pond and refuses to share. Instead, he challenges her to a race to determine who can stay. But how can a little turtle outswim a big, powerful beaver? This charming fable of brains versus brawn is a great read for all the young readers in the forest to share!
Silver Whistle, 2003
ages 11 and up, ISBN 978-0-1521-6737-0
In 1607, when John Smith and his "Coatmen" arrive in Powhatan to begin settling the colony of Virginia, their relations with the village's inhabitants are anything but warm. Pocahontas, the beloved daughter of the Powhatan chief, Mamanatowic, is just eleven; but in spite of her age, this astute young girl acts with wisdom and compassion, and plays a fateful, peaceful role in the destinies of two peoples.
Drawing from the personal journals of John Smith, Joseph Bruchac, winner of the American Book Award for Breaking Silence, reveals an important part of history through the eyes of two historic figures.
|Native American Animal Stories
written with Michael J. Caduto
illustrated by John Kahionhes Fadden
Fulcrum, 2003 (orig. published in 1992)
ages 6 to 10, ISBN 978-1-5559-1127-0
|Above the Line: New Poems
West End Press, 2003
These poems of close observation and passionate feeling deeply reflect Joseph Bruchac's Abenaki Indian heritage. Like Thoreau, he is a scrupulous student of nature. Uniquely, however, he brings his own cultural concerns to every observationnot only about preservation of a vulnerable ecology, but about keeping cultural continuity and reaffirming tradition. So many things are observed in this fine collection: an ancient village ruin and a local car wash; kingfishers and red-tail hawks in flight; burial places and a cedar flute. This is vintage Bruchac, a voice of hope and promise in a dark time.
A hopeful vision of the preservation of culture and the protection of the natural world from noted Abenaki Indian writer Joseph Bruchac.
written with Ken Waldman
West End Press, 2003
Written over a period of twelve years and published in magazines and anthologies, these beautiful poems of place and Abenaki Indian heritage are addressed to the land, to the poet's two sons James and Jesse, to his wife Carol, and to himself. A few poems invoking the land join others of close observation of the natural world of native New England and the poet's meditations upon it. In its essence, the land and culture Bruchac celebrates is not lost to him, but is a heritage to be passed on through his family. In a second section, "Traveling Stories," the well-traveled poet views creatures and events from his perspective.
Copyright 2002- Children's Literature Network.