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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  700 ratings  ·  98 reviews
When Christopher Columbus landed on the island of San Salvador in 1492, what he discovered were the Taino Indians. Told from a young Taino boy’s point of view, this is a story of how the boy tried to warn his people against welcoming the strangers, who seemed more interested in golden ornaments than friendship. Years later the boy, now an old man, looks back at the destruc...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 20th 1996 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1992)
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Best Children's Historical Fiction
158th out of 479 books — 492 voters
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6th out of 7 books — 4 voters

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This is the story of Columbus's first landfall in the new world, San Salvador, 1492. It is told with eloquence and prophetic wisdom from a Taino boy's point of view. The child thinks the ships are great birds and the the strange pale faced visitors have come from the sky. In innocence they are welcomed, but the boy's fears of the strangers foreshadow the future colonization and enslavement of the natives by the European invaders.

Since most stories of Columbus's voyages are told from the Europea...more
Gabriela Mejia
I see how some people are bothered by the excruciating truth this story wishes to Impart to young readers. The story of Columbus is not a happy one for everyone. Not everything needs to be written and illustrated with rose colored glasses. Children, I am sure were terrified by the white men in weird clothes and crazy talk. I don't think you had to be there to know that, and I think the author explains that she is merely writing a fictionalized account of what happened and took into consideration...more
Encounter is the story of Christopher Columbus from the point of view of a native Taino boy. The boy dreams of strangers coming to their island and posing a threat to his people. He tries to warn his people, but no one listens because he is a child. The story shows how the Taino eventually lost their culture and language because of this encounter. This book presents an alternate perspective from the traditional versions found in most history books.

Themes: Taino culture, Columbus, greed, slavery
When Christopher Columbus first landed in the Americas, he was met by a gentle people identified as the Taino of San Salvador. Within a few years, the tribe virtually vanished through violence when they sought to resist the European invasion, and through the diseases brought by the new-comers.
Encounter interprets first contact through the eyes of a young Taino boy, and we vicaiously experience his uneasiness and distrust of the foreigners. Near the end, he is taken prisoner,intended to be made...more
Christina Fisher
This is an amazing story about Christopher Columbus's first landing on the island of San Salvador in 1492, but told from the perspective of a young native indian boy on the island named Taino. He attempts to warn his people not to be friendly or welcoming to Columbus and the strangers he has brought with him because of their interest in the potential treasure and land to be gained by their location. The beautiful, rich pictures done by David Shannon are not like his typical cartoon-like style, b...more
Keely Bailey
Great book about Christopher Columbus' voyage from a non-European perspective.
I really wanted to like this book. If you look in the children's section for Columbus books, it's all a glorious rewriting of history, but this book tells it from a native Taino's perspective.

What I don't like about it is the narrative simply presents a negative impression of European conquistadors without presenting actual negative actions taken, which can only be found in the author's note at the end. (Some actions taken within the narrative, like planting the flag or bringing the native on b...more
Encounter is a book about the discovery of America from a Taino tribal boy’s point of view. The boy had bad dreams about the Spanish arriving on their land. He warned his people not to welcome the strangers, who did quite look like people because of the color of their skin and the coverings of their body, on their land. They didn’t listen to him because he was a child. When the strangers left the next day, they took 5 young men, the boy and lots of parrots with them. The boy quietly escap...more
Shelbi Bishop
This book is about the San Salvadorian's view of Christopher Columbus's discovery of America. In the POV of a young boy, you see what the they may have seen and read what they may have thought. At the end there is an Author's Note that lays down many facts about the discovery of America.

This book would be a great resource to use during your discussion of the discovery of America. It shows you that Christopher Columbus did not discover North America, like some students my believe. This could also...more
Grade/Interest level: Upper Elementary
Reading level:760 L
Genre: Historical Fiction
Main Characters: Taino boy
Setting: island of San Salvador in 1942
POV: from Taino boy
This story takes place in 1942 surrounding Christopher Columbus’ landing onto the island of San Salvador. It is told through the eyes of a young Taino boy who had a dream about strange people who come to his land to bring harm to his people. When the Taino people first encountered Colombus and his crew, they were confused because th...more
Book title: Encounter by Jane Yolen

Short description: This is a story about the first landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World.

Narrative features I would use use in a mini-lesson:

1. Point of view: Jane Yolen writes about Christopher Columbus in a different way. She writes in the perspective of a native boy. This is a powerful way to write about a historic event that is written about over and over again. Instead of telling the same story everyone has heard a million times, she chooses...more
Christopher's first encounter with the Taino Indians as his ships landed on the island of San Salvador in 1492 was not the pretty picture as many historians have led it to be as this young boy who had attempted to warn his village against, and remembers how his culture and civilization were destroyed by these strangers. The point of view told in this story was from that young Taino Indian recollecting how his village was in such awe of the gold ornaments and fancy clothing that they have forgott...more
As Christopher Columbus landed on San Salvador a young Taino boy accounts the strangers arrival. He describes how the strangers were so different from anyone on the island. Their clothing, skin color, and language were so different. But they almost behaved like human beings since they laughed and gave strings of beads and hats that made the boy not so afraid. The boy was among five natives taken prisioner from their land. The boy escaped and lived to warn others to be afraid of the strangers tha...more
Cheri Linton
Important to show the Columbus story from a young First Nations boy's point of view. I love the title which from a seemingly insignificant encounter exploded into hundreds of years of mistreatment on the part of the encounter with the Europeans. A meaningful book to illustrate the foreshadowing of the complex and sad series of events that followed this "encounter".
This book is a wonderful tool to utilize while introducing students to explorers and Christopher Columbus. Yolen's Encounter is told from a Taino boy's point of view; fiction based upon research. It gives its reader a different perspective from one they are most likely used to hearing about Columbus and his 1492 explorations. It brings up a powerful message, and shows the profound effect his exploration had on Native Americans. You feel empathy for this young boy and his tribe.

There are many won...more
Rachel Dalton
I used this book to teach a lesson about inferring with clues from the text. It is written from the point of view of a Native American little boy on an island of Central America when Spanish conquistadors arrived in the 16th century. I love that it is written from a point of view opposite from what many students hear when colonization is taught in schools.
Encounter by Jane Yolen (29 pages), told through the eyes of an Taino boy(now a man). It's about Christopher Columbus coming upon an island with an established culture and civilization. It questions was the island discovered or taken from the Taino's tribe. The pictures really enhance the story and give you a feeling of being there. There are staues, a serpent, and other historical attributes. I would read it to 2nd grade and above because of some of the language understandability, such as one p...more
This retelling of Christopher Columbus's first landfall is told from the point of view of a Taino boy who senses that it will be bad from the time that the ships lay anchor in the harbor. He sees through all the supposed kindnesses that Columbus and his men offer and is one of the Taino that are tricked into being kidnapped by the sailors when they depart. He luckily jumps overboard, however, and returns to the islands to warn his people. Sadly, his warnings go unheeded because he is a child, an...more
Heleina Conejos
Summary: This story takes on the unique perspective of a Taino child who meets strangers from another land, with Christopher Columbus as their leader. The child questions the reasons why these strange looking people were in his land and has forewarning dreams about them.

Classroom use: I would use this book with older students, possibly 4th or 5th grade and up, because they would already be familiar with who Christopher Columbus was. I would ask students to first jot down what they know about Col...more
Jamie Tedesco
This story was take. From the point of view of a Native American. It didn't seem super exciting to me and it was a little hard to follow, but if you understand the background it could be a good book to teach about history.
Ms. Isreal
My favorite picture book of all time! Where was this type of literature when I was growing up? This book creates an emotional response every time I look at the picture where the Taino boy pinches the hand of the white traveller's hand, displaying how his paleness made him appear ghostly in comparison to the boy's own brown hand. The book is sad because it shows a true perspective, an alternative perspective never found in children's literature. I would use this book with students in grades 3 and...more
Surprising, we learned things beyond the basic story of Columbus. Nice that it's told from the point of view of a native boy, based on actual events.
Laura Bang
A brilliantly done picture book that imagines the first encounter between Columbus and the native people of San Salvador. The story is told from the perspective of a young Taino boy who has doubts about the arrival of the white men. Shannon's illustrations are the perfect complement to the text, skillfully telling the other side of the story just as much as Yolen's words do. In particular, there is a truly horrifying two-page spread that features the white men leering at the natives' gold. That...more
This story of the encounter between Taino Indians and Spanish explorers is told from the point of view of a Taino boy with uneasy premonitions about what the strangers bring. The boy's warning are not heeded, and although he escapes being taken by the Spaniards, the epilogue informs us that no Taino remain today. It's a melancholy book, and David Shannon's illustrations, although colorful, are vaguely menacing. It's a valuable counterpoint to the usually triumphant narratives of the 'discovery'...more
This will be a good book for figurative language and sharing a story from a different perspective.
-Read in the intertextual set
-Christopher columbus landing in North America
-voice of a child
Megan Piero
This is a very powerful book and I think it sends a strong message to children. This tells the story of Columbus' landing from the perspective of a young Indian boy. It tells a very different perspective than what children are traditionally exposed to. I think that as a teacher, this book really has a lot of options. It could be used with a more traditional Columbus book to show how the perspective of a story changes when you think about a story from different characters point of view. However,...more
Amanda Petrucelli
The story of Columbus from the perspective of a young Taino Indian. It's great because it presents the other side -- strangers out for your gold who take your land etc. I like how certain objects are described the way someone who had NO idea what they are would describe them....a mirror is a pool that gives a man back his face, for example. What I don't like is that it is both too heavy and depressing -- angry -- regarding the European takeover of the Americans for children but also too simplist...more
Ms. B
An Opposing Viewpoints story for younger students about Columbus Day.
Natalie Weber
this would be a text for older kids but great for a history lesson.
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Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachuset...more
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