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Knots on a Counting Rope

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  536 ratings  ·  68 reviews
In this poignant story, the counting rope is a metaphor for the passage of time and for a boy's emerging confidence facing his greatest challenge: blindness. While classified as an Indian story, the love, hope, and courage expressed are universal.--Booklist, starred review. Full color.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 15th 1997 by Turtleback Books (first published October 15th 1987)
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Oyate freaking loathes this book, for loads of really good reasons, including the following:

• A child would never constantly interrupt an elder, even if he’d heard the story a hundred times. He would just sit quietly and listen.

• No one would say, “I love you. That is better than a promise.” We have learned too bitterly and too well that our love for our children is no protection for them against anything.

• What is this “counting rope” business anyway? Did the authors get the idea from the ancie
This is a difficult book to review because on the one hand it is a moving and poetic account of a little boy's (formally named "By-Strength-of-Blue Horses") eagerly asking and prompting his grandfather to tell the story of the boy's own life, a story that, when it is completed, is marked by a knot on a counting rope. As the story is told, the boy's blindness is revealed, which makes more suspenseful the episode of a horse race among this boy and others. That is what makes the counting rope perti ...more
I really liked the idea of storytelling, of the connection between grandfather and grandson, of passing wisdom and knowledge from one generation to another, of learning to live with and overcoming a disability, and of the strength of family. However, as an educator I found some aspects of this book problematic. I think that there are benefits in teaching multicultural literature but we need to be careful that we are not teaching and promoting stereotypes and inaccurate and inauthentic stories. T ...more
Nani Yanagi
This book is about Boy-Strength-of-Blue-Horses, who is told of his life story by his grandfather. When Boy was born, he was very sick and ill. His parents didn’t know if he was going to make it or not. His grandfather took him outside where two blue horses were running and stopped by to see this little boy. Boy reached out to touch them and his grandfather could feel the blue horses giving Boy the strength he needs to live. This is where he got his name. Boy had a connection with the blue horses ...more
Kaitlyn Ramirez
Kaitlyn Ramirez:

Knots on a Counting Rope
By: Bill Martin Jr.

Knots on a Counting Rope is a story about a young Indian boy who was born on a stormy night on the Indian Reservation. When he was born Boy was very sick and frail, he didn’t open up his eyes until he met his brothers from the north, the horses. Something came over him that allowed him to smile for the first time it was then at a naming ceremony his grandfather named him, Boy Strength of Blue Horses, he was named after the two blue hors
Paige Clarke
Knots on a Counting Rope is about a little boy who is blind and identifies with the Navajo Native American tribe. He and his grandfather are sitting around a campfire one night, when the boy asks his grandfather to tell him the story about when he was born. His grandfather claims to have already told him many times, but the boy insists on him telling it again. The story's message allows the boy to have courage and to be able to see with his "inward eye" or his heart. Despite the fact that his gr ...more
Nov 13, 2014 June rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Native American, blind, physical disability requests
Recommended to June by: Reading Rainbow
A touching story of a grandfather and his blind grandson.
I know that there are a lot of reviews complaining about the historical inaccuracies of this book, but as someone coming in who does not know much about the history behind this, I found this book to be really beautiful. I especially loved the illustrations and how each highlighted a brilliant feature of the scenery. I also loved the relationship between the boy and his grandfather. I got the vibe that they share a special bond. I thought that that aspect of it was very nice. The formatting of th ...more
Brenda Cregor
How is it after teaching "inference" "inferring" and "how to infer" for an entire year [backed up by the years my students have been taught this comprehension skill by other teachers before they came to me], could there ever be any question as to what this skill is and how to utilize it for deeper understanding of an author's meaning and purpose?
I have no idea.
It's a mystery as unsolvable as the "one sock in the dryer" conundrum.
This book provides a great opportunity for inference...what ever
Knots on a Counting Rope was the book I chose from the not recommended list on Oyate. Sitting around a fire, a young blind boy listens to his grandfather tell the story of the night he was born. From the pictures, the reader assumes they are some type of Native American Indians. Yet, neither the illustrations or text offer any clue as to the specific Native culture. The story unfolds as a conversation written in a jarring and disruptive form. I was actually confused when reading this book. The b ...more
I read this book aloud with my students with another classroom teacher, as well as played the CD version of the story.

This story is written in a dialogue between a young boy and his grandfather. They remember and retell the story of the young boy's birth and upbringing becoming a young horse rider. It's a touching story of the boy learning about the world while facing the limitation of being blind. As the chapter mentions, this book demonstrates how good literature presents characters with some
Knots on a Counting Rope (Reading Rainbow Book) by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, illustrated by Ted Rand is a poignant yet controversial story of a young blind Native American boy, with the counting rope used as a metaphor for both the passage of time and the emerging confidence of the boy.

The text is spare and poetic. It promotes confidence and belief in oneself. It also is postive in the value of storytelling and the bond between a grandson and grandfather.

The illustrations are evocative
Mistiemae1 Downs
First a word of caution: One visit to the reviews of this book on Goodreads should warn you that it is not appropriate for teaching multiculturalism. Please be aware of this and take whatever action necessary to educate the children you're reading to/with according to their age and development.

With that out of the way, my children and I found Knots on a Counting Rope to be a beautiful and moving story. Perhaps you've experienced the eagerness of a child to hear the story of their birth and grow
Ryley Christian
This book is about facing the challenges of being blind from the perspective of a little boy who is blind. The narrator, Boy-Strength-of-Blue-Horses, listens to his grandfather tell the story of his birth and his arising mental strength through his lifetime so far. With encouragement from his grandfather, Boy-Strength-of-Blue-Horses begins to feel confident that he will continue to succeed despite his disability.

The authors, Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, portray the courage of Boy-Stren
Tony Ruiz
Knots On A Counting Rope – Bill Martin Jr.
Grade: 3-5
Pages: 32
Theme: Native Americas, Disability, Overcoming Challenges
Genre: Traditional Literature
Response: Maybe its something about Native American books and dark settings, tone's, and colors, but again, another I enjoyed reading. I thought the illustrations were dark but enchanting, and helped build around the story telling around the fire. I also think this would be a great book for students with special needs, in particular those who are vis
Literary Device: Foreshadowing/Metaphor. Even though the story has been told many times, Boy-Strength-of-Blue-Horses begs his grandfather to tell about the young boy’s birth and the horse race he lost. In this story of love and courage, the counting rope is a metaphor for the passage of time.

I love Native American stories that depict the art of storytelling. I also love these types of stories because they highlight the relationships between extended family members.

My family delights in telling t
This book is about a boy and his Grandfather talking about the boy's life so far. To me I liked the artwork, but I really didn't know who was talking at the parts of the books. Anyway, find out why this book is named at the end of the book KNOTS ON A COUNTING ROPE!!! PS: I mean it's on the very last page!!! :)
Kristina Moss
This narrative tells about a young boy who begs his grandfather to retell him the story about the day he was born. The story is written in dialogue from both the boy and the grandfather in whom they talk about the adventures of the little boy’s horseback riding and his difficulties that come along with him being blind. The author, Bill Martin Jr, captures the dialogue of both the young boy and grandfather in a sentimental and heart felt way. As a teacher, I will use this text to educate my stude ...more
Erica Tucker
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I really enjoyed this book. I love how the author wrote is as if they were speaking. I also really liked how he pointed out when they were talking about the past. I also the how the author pointed out the point that even when the person is no longer with us in person they are still with us in memories.
Chatara Jordan
This was a great book. This a simple children's book that tell a story with a the blind child and his grand father. The grandfather is explaining to the young boy how he and his family recognized he was blind at birth. I would encourage all typical and atypical kids with this condition to read this book I really enjoyed it.
Jun 06, 2008 Janelle rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Janelle by: LeVar Burton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Helen Jeffries
This is a long story and would probably be a good book for older elementary students. It's a story about a Native American grandfather and his grandson. It is a good book for inferring.
Miriam Garcia

The story, told by the grandfather, of the birth of a young boy and his adventures growing up. This book could be used to teach about the Native American culture. Since the story mentions the importance of names and describes one of the ways that Native Americans may choose names for their children, a classroom activity could be to have student write about how they got their name. I like this story because it shows strong family bonds that are often associated with the Native American Culture. S
Aug 05, 2011 Dolly rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We borrowed this book from our local library as part of a kit with an audiocassette. We enjoyed listening to the book narrated while we followed along with the book. I thought the story was a nice one, about a young boy who asks his grandfather yet one more time about the story of his birth and a retelling of an exciting horse race. I see here that the book has received scathing reviews about its inauthenticity and its characterization of Native Americans. I don't know about that, but I do know ...more
John Sullivan
I enjoyed this book, but thought that the main character was a bit unrealistic, and quite frankly annoying. The authors could have done a better job of writing this story so as to make Boy-Strength-of-Blue-Horses more likeable and strong-willed; I found the boy's constant interrupting and questioning distracting. However, the telling of the boy's incredible life, considering the fact that he is blind, made for an interesting plot that has the ability to teach a lesson. I would have this story av ...more
I love this book My father would have loved this book. I was always asking him to tell me stories. Excellent illustrations.
This is one of the few picture books that brings tears to my eyes when I read it. It's a beautifully nuanced story that manages to be about relationships, culture, disability, and time without being preachy. The narrative is unusual because it is a dialogue between a grandfather and his grandson. They are reminiscing about important events in the boy's life. The pictures are fantastic; especially the play between light and shadow. A number of the pictures are at night illuminated only by a fire. ...more
Kate Hastings
Elementary. This book concerns me. It is very popular in the education world-- written and illustrated by two very reputable names in children's literature. Although well-intentioned, this book is offensive to native peoples (See the Oyate site), and unless you are a part of the culture you might not know it. The main problems: costume is not unique to any one tribe-- very general in grouping Native tribes together--and not appropriate, along with some of the imagery and behavior. There are bett ...more
This book teaches about native Americans and depicts a grandfather and grandson relationship.
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Bill Martin, Jr. (1916-2004) was an elementary-school principal, teacher, writer, and poet. His more than 300 books, among them the bestselling classics Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See; Polar Bear Polar Bear What Do You Hear; Panda Bear Panda Bear What Do You See; and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, are a testament to his ability to speak directly to children. Martin held a doctoral degree in early ...more
More about Bill Martin Jr....
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? Chicka Chicka ABC

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