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Who Will Tell My Brother? by Marlene Carvell
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Nov 19, 09

bookshelves: poetry

Appropriate 9-12, Through lyrical free-verse poems that span his senior year, readers come to know Evan Hill, an artistic, articulate student who embarks on a crusade begun by his older brother to remove the Indian as their high school's mascot. He shares a Native American heritage with his father, who embodies patience and quiet strength and who draws the teen into his once estranged Mohawk family circle. Evan encounters a mix of hostility, indifference, and silent support for his cause from his classmates. Intolerance and brutality erupt when long-haired Evan is cornered in the hall by scissors-wielding classmates and when his mother discovers the beloved family dog lying dead atop a paper feather headdress. The young man's repeated visits to the school board generate annoyance, frustration, and intransigence, and it votes to ignore his request and to uphold the status quo. But at graduation, when an Indian mascot banner is displayed, cheers fade as sympathizers join Evan in a silent, seated protest. Carvell's first novel carries a clear, thought-provoking message about both intolerance and cultural pride. The protagonist's first-person experiences and insights are affecting. His objection to the shallow, stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans emerges from a spiritual and cultural need to be understood, recognized, and appreciated. Through his campaign, Evan learns a lesson in integrity, perseverance, and courage.
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