Arrow to the Sun: A Pueblo Indian Tale
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Arrow to the Sun: A Pueblo Indian Tale

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  3,187 ratings  ·  207 reviews
Explains how the spirit of the Lord of the Sun was brought to the world of men. 1975 Caldecott Winner
Hardcover, 44 pages
Published June 10th 1974 by Viking Juvenile (first published 1974)
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It may have won the Caldecott, but even award-winning books can (and should) be set aside.

Errors in it are several.

One, what pueblo is it about? The subtitle is "A Pueblo Tale" but there are 19 pueblos in New Mexico, and we're not identical. Amongst us there are several language groups.

Two, kivas are places of ceremony and instruction, not places of trial. However, in McDermott’s kivas, the protagonist must prove himself by fighting lions, serpents, bees, and lightning in four different kivas....more
This book had the most interesting cover, so I couldn't pass up reading it. When I saw that it was a native american tale , I was intrigued because I have not read any tales from this culture. This book is based on an Pueblo Indian tale, and is also illustrated in Pueblo style art. It did not surprise me that the book won the Caldecott medal because the illustrations are magnificent and really bring an element of depth to the story. The story centers around a young boy who was sent to the earth...more
This is my favorite book in my 2nd grade classroom. I love it because it's a short story, not difficult to read, and the illustrations are so cool that they look like you're playing a video game. When I'm reading it, I feel like I'm reading the words on a video game screen. The story is an ancient one of the Indians, and it is fascinating to me. I love how the boy perseveres even though people are mean to him and even though it's hard to get to the sun. It teaches me how to persevere. (Note from...more
Kathryn Anne Russell
Arrow to the Sun by Gerald McDermott is a Pueblo Indian tale that was retold for a modern audience. The book follows the life of a young boy who was born to a woman in a pueblo from a spark sent from the sun god. The boy grew up and was made fun of by the other boys in the pueblo for not having a father. The boy decided to go on a journey to find his father. He went to the Corn Planter and the Pot Maker with no luck before visiting the Arrow maker who sensed he was wise and possible from the sun...more
Jennifer Hackett
Traditional Literature: Folktale/Mythology/Motif
McDermott, Gerald. Arrow to the Sun (1974). Arrow to the Sun is a Pueblo Indian tale about a boy that was created by spark sent from the Sun. Other boys would not play with him because he had no father, so he decided to leave his pueblo and find his father. When he came across the Arrow Maker he was turned into an arrow and shot into the heavens. When he meets his father he must prove his identity through a series of test including the Kiva of Lion...more
Jamie Singer
The lord of the sun came down and had a son, and no one would let him play because he had no father. He went for a search to find his father, and went to corn planter who ignores him, then pot maker, then arrow maker who was a wise man. Arrow maker did not answer, but knew he came from the sun. He put him to an arrow, and sent him to the sun on the arrow. He talks to the sun God, and says you are my father! The sun god said you must complete these tasks to prove, and they are 4 chambers, they ar...more
This is based on a Native American legend, I guess. It is about the sun impregnating a woman. (Sound familar, anyone?) The son of the sun later becomes an arrow and goes back to his father, the sun. (Gosh, the parallels are striking.)

According to this site: http://americanindiansinchildrenslite... there are some inherent problems with this book.

David Korsak
This book is about a boy who was born from the sun. He begins a quest to find his father. So he went for a search to find his father, and went to corn planter who ignores him, then pot maker, then arrow maker who was a wise man. The arrow maker did not answer, but knew he came from the sun. He put him to an arrow, and sent him to the sun on the arrow. He talks to the sun God, and says you are my father! The sun god said you must prove yourself through a series of tests. If you want to know what...more
Adam Donald
The story opens with a boy who is identified as the son of the Lord of the Sun. He is made fun of because on earth he has no father. Because of this he goes out searching for his father. He first asks a farmer, then a pot maker, and finally an arrow maker for help finding his father. The arrow maker recognized that he is from the sun and straps him to an arrow that he shoots at the sun. When the boy arrives at the sun he is tested by four spirits; when he passes the Lord of the sun accepts that...more
The story of a boy's quest to please his father, the sun god, from the Pueblo people; I love the bold colors and graphic style of this McDermott book. There's a wordless section in which we need to interpret various symbols to understand the action. This has a modern feel to it.
Kelsey Hoban
Arrow to the Sun is a carefully done and unique story about a boy from the sun going on a quest to find his father. He searches through a world of men only to find himself back at the sun. Once there he must go through a series of tests to himself to his father. This book is told as a folk story and the illustrations are bold Native American art that are shown through few colors. These images take you back in time and into the story being told. The illustrations add to the culture and feel of t...more
Jaycie Shearer
Arrow to the Sun is a hard book for children to relate to because it is not what many children are used to. The Native American influences make for an interesting story and provide insight into other cultures. The colors are bright and appealing to look at throughout the story. The oranges and yellows contrasted with the black on the pages, drawing the readers in. The illustrations are simple, but they still make it easy for readers to understand the story, however the text was very pertinent to...more
The bold illustrations! The colors! My favorite part is that the three trials the boy endures are illustrated without text. What could've gotten a bit tiresome is alive and captivating instead.
Melissa McMaster
This was originally a tribal story that was translated into English. I found the plot of this story to be similar to that of the ancient Greek myth of Hercules. A boy is born from the sun, and in order to rejoin his father in the sun, he must perform a series of tasks to show that he is worthy and to prove that he is actually his son. These illustrations are very tribal; they use bold, bright colors and blockish, geometric drawings.
I enjoyed that this book is a great example of how the same kind...more
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Caldecott Medal 1975 - I read this one years ago, but in looking at it again, the illustrations really were quite spectacular for it's time.
Rosa Cline
This is a Caldecott Award Book

This is a Pueblo Indian tale. (It is very similar to Christian's and the story in the Bible about Jesus being born to a virgin to come to earth and save the people.) The illustrations are more of the story than the story itself. And several pages have no writing but just illustrations. It was a nice book, especially to see a way of life that no longer is prominate in this world. Indian's have been forced to be American's and do 'white man's way' so to read one of th...more
Megan Going
The illustrations in the book are mostly colored using black, yellow, reds, and oranges. The images are build in squares making up certain shapes. These illustrations seem to resemble Aztec art with lots of cross patters. The main theme between all the illustrations is the arrow; it shows up somehow in every image. This story is a great lesson on bravery of a young boy who is on a search for his father, receiving help from an arrow maker in the end. The images are unique and may either draw in r...more
Nicholas Humilier
Grade/interest level: K-2
Lexile: 480L
Reading level: 2.6
Genre: Traditional Literature

Main Characters: The Boy, the Lord of the Sun
Setting: The Pueblo, Earth, the Sun
POV: Third Person

In this story the Lord of the Sun "sent the spark of life to the Earth." From this spark, a young Boy was born. This boy was teased as a child because he had no father. Determined to find him, the boy leaves the pueblo in search of his father. After some difficulty, he encounters the Arrow Maker. The Arrow Maker chang...more
Paige Sullivan
The book Arrow to the Sun by Gerald McDermott, is a folk tale about the sun god creating a son to be sent down to earth. Once he is on earth he is teased for not having a father, so he goes on a journey to find his father. He comes a crossed an arrow who makes him into an arrow and shoots him to the sun. Once he reaches his father he has to go through a bunch of tests to prove that he is his son. After he past all the test his father says he must return to earth to spread the spirit of him to th...more
Natalie Varnell
Genre: Children’s Picture Book: Traditional Literature
Summary: A young maiden was blessed with a son from the Lord of the Sun. This young boy grew up separate from his father, and was teased by other boys for not seemingly to have a father. The boy decides to go look for his father among other Pueblo men. When he came to the Arrow Maker, the arrow maker recognized that this boy must have come from the sun. He made the boy into an arrow and shot him to the sun. Once he reaches the sun, he goes th...more
Avery Maxwell
Arrow to the Sun, written and illustrated by Gerald McDermott, is a Pueblo Indian tale and the illustrations depict that very well. All of the pictures are drawn in traditional Native American style and the main colors used are yellow and black. The only time any of the colors change is when the boy gets shot to the sun on an arrow. On the way to the sun, the stars are drawn in different colors, which I thought was really cool. The difference in colors showed the distinction between what was on...more
“Arrow to the Sun” is a Caldecott Medal Award winning book by Gerald McDermott that relates an old Pueblo Indian tale about a boy who tries to find his father, the Lord of the Sun and prove himself worthy to be his son. “Arrow to the Sun” is a fun and creative book that many children who love Native American folktales, will easily get into!

Gerald McDermott has done many wonders with both the illustrations and the writing. Gerald McDermott makes the story dramatic and simple at the same time as t...more
Genre: Traditional Literature/ Picture book

Summary: This book is based on an ancient Pueblo legend about about the source of life and a Pueblo boy who has to pass through four test of wisdom, strength and endurance to prove that he is the son of the the Lord of the Sun, sent to the Earth as a spark of life.

A. Legends, folklore and culture
B. This beautifully illustrated and written story tells the tale of the Lord of the Sun creating life through a spark sent to the Earth. The cultura...more
Emily Calzi
Arrow to the Sun by Gerald McDermott, is a beautifully laid out picture book. Its vibrant colors and use of blocked images made it a Caldecott Medal winner. It is the story of a boy who sets out to find his father. He is mocked by the boys in the village and cannot seem to find any help. He finally finds an Arrow Maker, a wise man, who directs him to the sun. The boy finds his father, but has to prove himself by "[passing] through the four chambers of ceremony, the Kiva of Lions, the Kiva of Ser...more
Bailey Carlson
Arrow to the sun was an interesting book. I had to read it twice to really grasp what was going on but it made more sense the second time through. McDermott brings to life a Pueblo Indian tale about a boy, the son of the sun, trying to find out who his father is. After asking many people, he becomes an arrow and gets shot to the sun, and then must prove himself to his father. Once he does this, he returns to the homeland and everyone celebrates in "the dance of life." It is a great learning tool...more
Sophia Kanoon
Grade/interest level: Primary/Learn to Read (k-2nd grade)
Reading level: Guided Reading Level N
Genre: Traditional Literature

Main Characters: The Boy and The Lord of the Sun
Setting: Long Ago in a Pueblo Village
POV: Omniscient third person narrator

Summary: Arrow to the Sun by Gerald McDermott is a traditional Pueblo Indian folk tale. The artwork of the book represents traditional Pueblo artwork and is done in a gouache format. The tale takes place long ago in a Pueblo Indian village. One day The L...more
Sarah Pfingston
I would first like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The illustration are very bright and geometric shaped. The content of the book though is really what I enjoyed. "It" traveled down to the Earth from the Sun. "It" was a boy. He lived in a village where he was teased by the other boys because he didn't know who his father was. He sets off on his journey to figure this out. When he runs into a wise man who turns him into an arrow and sends him back to the Sun. Once he is there he asks...more
Erin Karnetsky
I bought this book a year ago because of the beautiful and unique illustrations. I was planning art and literacy lessons to enrich 5th grade Social Studies, specifically the unit on Native Americans. The artwork has beautiful bright colors, lines that flow and move, and pattern that build the characters and scenery. If you just looked through the book without reading it you can see that it tells a story of a boy that is on a journey visiting interesting places and people. The most dynamic techni...more
Grade/Interest Level – Primary/ Learn to read (K-2)
Reading Level: 480L Lexile
Genre: Traditional Literature
Main Characters: Lord of the Sun, Arrow Maker, the Boy
Setting: The world of men
POV: Narrator

This story is a Pueblo Indian tale about how the spirit of the Lord of the Sun was sent to earth. The Lord of the Sun once shot a spark of life to the earth. The rays fell upon a young pueblo maiden who later gave birth to a son. This boy was always in search of his father and one day ran off in a que...more
Audra Sein
Arrow to the Sun is a Pueblo Indian tale about a boy who doesn't fit in with the people around him because he doesn't have a father, motivating him to go on a quest in search of his father.

Gerald McDermott's illustrations support the text in many different ways. One way is through color. At the beginning of the story, the boy and his mother are depicted in black, while the other people around them are depicted in brown. This supports the fact that they are not accepted by the other people aroun...more
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Gerald McDermott is an award-winning children’s book illustrator and an expert on mythology. His work often combines bright colors and styles with ancient imagery.

He has created more than 25 books and animated films. His first book, Anansi the Spider, was awarded a Caldecott Honor, and he’s since won the Caldecott Medal for Arrow to the Sun and another Caldecott Honor.
More about Gerald McDermott...
Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from West Africa Monkey: A Trickster Tale from India Coyote: A Trickster Tale from the American Southwest

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