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Hiawatha and the Peacemaker
Cover of Hiawatha and the Peacemaker
Hiawatha and the Peacemaker

Born of Mohawk and Cayuga descent, musical icon Robbie Robertson learned the story of Hiawatha and his spiritual guide, the Peacemaker, as part of the Iroquois oral tradition. Now he shares the same gift of storytelling with a new generation.

Hiawatha was a strong and articulate Mohawk who was chosen to translate the Peacemaker's message of unity for the five warring Iroquois nations during the 14th century. This message not only succeeded in uniting the tribes but also forever changed how the Iroquois governed themselves—a blueprint for democracy that would later inspire the authors of the U.S. Constitution.

Caldecott Honor–winning illustrator David Shannon brings the journey of Hiawatha and the Peacemaker to life with arresting oil paintings. Together, the team of Robertson and Shannon has crafted a new children's classic that will both educate and inspire readers of all ages.

Born of Mohawk and Cayuga descent, musical icon Robbie Robertson learned the story of Hiawatha and his spiritual guide, the Peacemaker, as part of the Iroquois oral tradition. Now he shares the same gift of storytelling with a new generation.

Hiawatha was a strong and articulate Mohawk who was chosen to translate the Peacemaker's message of unity for the five warring Iroquois nations during the 14th century. This message not only succeeded in uniting the tribes but also forever changed how the Iroquois governed themselves—a blueprint for democracy that would later inspire the authors of the U.S. Constitution.

Caldecott Honor–winning illustrator David Shannon brings the journey of Hiawatha and the Peacemaker to life with arresting oil paintings. Together, the team of Robertson and Shannon has crafted a new children's classic that will both educate and inspire readers of all ages.

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    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.0
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  • Interest Level:
    MG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Robbie Robertson was the lead guitarist and primary songwriter of the legendary musical group the Band. Rolling Stone named him one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He lives in Los Angeles.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 6, 2015
    Robertson, best known for his work with musical group The Band, collaborates with Shannon on a sadly relevant story about choosing peace over violence, recounting the story of how Mohawk warrior Hiawatha joined forces with a spiritual leader known as the Peacemaker to unite five warring tribes. It’s no easy task, as Hiawatha must overcome his own anger and desire for revenge—Tadodaho, chief of the Onondaga tribe, destroyed his home and killed his family. A departure from the playfulness of books like No, David and How I Became a Pirate, Shannon’s penetrating oil paintings expressively capture the initial tension and uncertainty with which these messengers of peace are met, and the tranquility that replaces it. As the unified nations finally approach the murderous Tadodaho, they find a man “Hunched over, withered, and twisted,” snakes coursing through his hair—yet not beyond the healing power of forgiveness. Extensive endnotes and a CD that includes a song written and performed by Robertson underscore the author’s evident emotional connection to this story and passion for passing it on. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Ryan Harbage, Fischer-Harbage Agency.

  • Kirkus

    June 1, 2015
    Robertson, widely known for his work in the legendary group The Band, crafts a legend-based tale about the unification of warring tribes into what would become known as the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. As a boy, Robertson, of Mohawk and Cayuga heritage, heard an elder tell this story, which may date from the 14th century. It places Hiawatha, a Mohawk, into fresh cultural context and corrects Longfellow. After his family is killed in a raid by the dreaded Onodaga chief, Tadodaho, Hiawatha retreats in bereft solitude. A man in a glowing white stone canoe approaches. Stuttering softly, he shares his message of peace and reconciliation with Hiawatha, asking him to help carry and amplify this message during visits to warring tribes. The pair travels in succession to the Mohawk, Cayuga, Seneca, Oneida, and Onondaga tribes. With difficulty, they overcome resistance, laying groundwork for what would become, by 1722, the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. Hiawatha's first-person narration reveals his own transformation, from grief-stricken vengeance to self-forgiveness, from hatred to joy. Shannon adopts a palette of deep browns, red-golds, and blue-grays, with hints of green. Figures are broad-backed, solemn, and heroically posed. Tadodaho, disfigured by evil, is depicted as a scaly wretch, snakes entwined in his hair. Hiawatha prepares a curative medicine for him; Shannon portrays his recovery and eventual transmogrification as an eagle. Expressive, handsome, and well-documented. (historical note, acknowledgments, author's note) (Picture book/folk tale. 5-10)

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from August 1, 2015

    Gr 5 Up-This long overdue and stunningly illustrated work tells the story of Hiawatha, the legendary historical figure who helped form the Great Iroquois Nation. Sparked by fear, anger, and revenge, the five Haudenosaunee Nations are constantly at odds with one another other, fueled by the evil Chief Tadodaho. The Mohawk warrior Hiawatha is consumed by grief and anger, but a Peacemaker appears and enlists him to assist in joining the tribes together under the Great Law. After traveling with the Peacemaker to the different tribes and working toward peace, Hiawatha finds forgiveness within himself. Best known for his work with The Band, Robertson offers a beautifully retold version of this tale, which has been passed down through North American Indian oral tradition. An appended note describes the Iroquois Confederacy and its impact upon the U.S. Constitution, adding authenticity and emphasizing the importance of this tale. The bright colors of Shannon's full-page spreads add depth and volume, giving readers greater understanding. VERDICT All students should know the history of the Iroquois Confederacy, and this book provides the perfect opportunity for them to do so.-Amy Zembroski, Indian Community School, Franklin, WI

    Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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