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Anpao: An American Indian Odyssey
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Anpao: An American Indian Odyssey

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  708 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Anpao is young and Handsome and Brave -- a man any maiden would be proud to call her husband. Any maiden but Ko-Ko-Mik-e-is, that is, who calims she belongs to the Sun alone. And so Anpao sets off for the house of the Sun to ask permission to marry the woman he loves. But Anpao's journey is not an easy one. Before he can reach the Sun, Anapao must travel back in time to th ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 30th 1992 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 1977)
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Greta Marlow
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
In the author's note at the end of the book, Highwater says he doesn't want to call the stories in Anpao "myths" or "legends," because that term has come to "express the dominant society's disregard for the beliefs of other peoples." I would disagree with him on that point; myths are the most important stories of a culture. That's how I read Anpao - as a compilation into a single narrative of the foundational worldview of many (though not all) Native American tribes. Once I understood that what ...more
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
This story “Anpao: An American Indian Odyssey” is about a boy named Anpao who didn’t know his past, he was poor and wanted to marry the beautiful girl named Ko-ko-mik-e-is. She accepted his request and sent him an a journey to ask the Sun as a sign to her, that she can get married to him. So Anpao and his twin brother Oapna, went on the path until they came upon a lake. A swan helped them across and the went into an old woman’s lodge for help. She tells him about his history and how Anpao was bo ...more
Feb 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Read this as a child, and found it awesome.
Mar 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Can one always trust what one hears? How much verification is needed to guarantee a fact’s indubitable reliability? Jamake Highwater’s Anpao: An Indian American Odyssey, although restrained by the binds of a questionable past, presents itself as a piece of indigenous literature. The claim is due to uncertainty of Highwater’s origins and background, and is often viewed skeptically by those who do their research. However, after further analysis and evaluation of the text, Anpao can be justified th ...more
Jun 10, 2015 rated it liked it
“Seamless Tapestry of Native American Creation Legends”

This 1977 extended tale presents many stories transmitted by proud oral tradition—blending the composite of pre Colombian
beliefs and values of several North American Indian tribes. Carefully preserved in written format these tales represent more than mere fireside entertainment; they express the sacred ideologies of the first Americans. The morals expressed in this pseudo anthology, however, are not always immediately apparent to European
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
After traveling for many years, Anpao stumbles across the town where the beautiful Ko-ko-mik-e-is lives. She can only marry him if he goes on a treacherous journey to the Sun, who Ko-ko-mik-e-is belongs to. Anpao must ask the Sun’s permission to taking her as his wife. As he journeys, he encounters the story of his life, friends, foes, wise man, foolish boys, and dangerous women. Anpao witnesses the birth of many mysteries in our world as he struggles to complete his seemingly impossible advent ...more
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Anpao is in love with a beautiful girl who is promised to the sun. He has to travel to the land of the Sun to get permission to marry her. Anpao's travels and adventures stitch together many traditional Native American stories from sources referenced at the back of the book.

Scholastic rates the book at a 6.9 grade level and that would mostly be for the mental agility and comprehension necessary to fully enjoy the book. There are some dark themes that a younger reader might need help to understan
Anne Osterlund
Dec 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Anpao is in love, with the beautiful Ko-Ko-mik-e-is.
But the sun has ordered her never to marry.
So she tells Ampao that she can only accept his heart if first he will travel to the sun and obtain permission to marry her.
An impossible mission.

A mission that will require knowledge and thirst and wisdom.
One that will pit Ampao against the great power and enmity of the moon.
A trek which none could expect to survive.

Except for Anpao. For he is the son of the sun.

Jamake Highwater’s Newberry Honor book,
Jul 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery, fiction-folk
1978 Newbery Honor Book

This book reminded me a bit of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (or perhaps the other way around since this was published first). The author takes different Native American legends and stories and blends them into one long coherent story about Anpao. There's a list in the back of which stories came from where.

Anpao and his contrary brother Oapna live in a rich village but they are poor. Anpao falls in love with a girl in that village who says she will marry him but he mu
Feb 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This is a good book for those who enjoy stories told in the same type of voice as fairy tales. The characters are somewhat flat in the typical way of traditional tales. The way the author crafted the story is really interesting. He has taken many traditional Native American stories from many tribes and nations and woven them into one odyssey of a boy/man. He compares the book to Homer's Odyssey in it's scope (if not style and length). While I appreciate the book, I didn't find myself drawn into ...more
Dec 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Second time through wasn't as good. I'm older now and the book is more exciting for fantasy-lovers. The protagonist goes on an epic journey in which he encounters the combined experiences from all native american legends. While the story in interesting, it is not totally believable because the young man doesn't age much over the course of the journey and his escapes from danger are too easy. One legend has a character that turns into a sea monster. In Anpao, this character is Anpao's friend. To ...more
Thomas Bell
Aug 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery-honors
I thought it was okay. I'm really not huge into the Native American way of storytelling, and I'm not a huge fan of all creatures (and everything really) just being different races of people. And the symbolism is okay but doesn't always make sense to me. Often the symbols are just weird rather than making an association with a certain attribute. Oh, well. Just not my style.

I do like how the author is very much Native American. He looks more so than the picture of Anpao on the front cover. I also
Mar 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Anpao is a fulfilling novel about a boy becoming a man. However, there are many other parts of this writing that touches on different pieces of native american literature and oral tradition. I gave this novel 3 stars because although Jamake Highwaters writing is well worded and very diverse, the story, I felt, was too long. It felt as though it could've ended in the middle and that Highwater just wanted something to be able to continue, but I sort of treated reading this book like a chore and I ...more
Aug 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book is an interesting effort for a Greek to collect and intertwine the stories of various Native American tribes, but it takes many liberties in presenting this lore to an audience that would not otherwise hear them. I think this book would make an excellent novel assignment for a middle school language arts classroom, but it would need to be supplemented by some actual exploration of the real lore and lives of Native Americans for factual comparison.
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this in elementary school and completely fell in love with it. I still have my tattered copy from years ago on my shelf. It was one of the first 'man on a quest' stories that I've ever read, and is perfect for young readers who get to use their imagination while reading. It's an American Indian's Odyssey filled with adventure, magic, and myths. I recommend it for any elementary/middle school kid that loves a good quest book.
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I barely remember this, only that at the time I read it (required middle school reading), I found it amazing. It is a different kind of storytelling, more tribal. It exists in a different world, a world where there is no suspension of disbelief, you must simply accept things as is, which forces you to look at the world in a different way, from a different perspective (both cultural and personal). I want to re-read this one, when I can.
Jan 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-for-ronan
this book is one of my favorite books of all time. i think the fact that i read it in middle school gave me an opportunity to allow my imagination to run away with it. the book seemed really dark but i could not put it down, and read it over and over again. i'm always inspired by anpao's confidence regardless of the fact that he is perpetually alone. he trusts his gut more than anything else and is rarely led astray from it.
May 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: newbery-honor
got through it...

"when you return to our village you must tell our people that we must accept whatever it is we are becoming. I have learned this and now I will be all right. Sometimes we grow up to be like everyone else, but sometimes we do not. People are always afraid of turning into something unusual, but they must not be afraid. We must be happy with whatever we are becoming. That is the way it is and that is the way it was intended to be."
Nov 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-to-self
Native American stories like to personify an array of things - the sun, the moon, small pox. This story felt like a conglomerate of many stories. Mostly entertaining, though at times, I didn't know if there was an underlying philosophy I was missing, or was the story just a story. It was a fairly epic quest for the pure love of a woman. 3.9/5.
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book when I was in 5th grade. It is about a boy in a tribe who wants to marry this girl. The catch is that she says she belongs to the Sun and can not marry him. So he tries to win her hand in marriage from the Sun god. He goes on this epic journey and battles many different magical creatures. It is a pretty interesting Native American story.
Nov 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery
I listened to the audio version of Anpao. I thought the narrator did a great job. Though there were times when I was listening to it and was a bit confused , I don't think that would have happened if I had been reading the print copy. I am always intrigued by Native American folklore so I found Anpao's journey to be quite fascinating.
Jun 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Once I got into the rhythm of this book it became an intriguing read. Even understanding its mythical and mystical qualities, I had to remind myself to read it as an allegory to understand the motives and choices of its characters.
Jun 26, 2013 rated it liked it
I loved the Native American perspective of the beginnings of the earth. I find Native American stories so beautiful and poetic and this was no exception. The bravery and endurance Anpao has is inspiring.
Apr 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: mythology
I read this book when I was much younger. It was difficult to understand but many of the thoughts of the book are still with me. It was an interesting read and would look forward again to reading it a second time in the future.
Mar 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Young Adults, interested in Indian stories.
I liked this book. It is written for young adults and my son loved it at 12 years old. It is a generic colletion of indian myths common to many tribes written as an adveture story. It inspired me to read more indian stories and found elements contained in this book.
This was interesting but I think I was too young to really understand it when I read it. I should probably go back to it sometime.
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: native-americans
The choppy style of the different legends was too much for me.
James Prothero
Interesting amalgamation of Native American legend. Fun read.
Nov 20, 2008 added it
Shelves: american-indians
AI 398.2
Nov 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite childhood books. Thanks for buying this, Grandma!
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Jamake Highwater is the author of a number of books for children, including The Ceremony of Innocence, a 1985 ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and I Wear the Morning Star, a 1988 IRA Young Adult Choice. Mr. Highwater lives in Hampton, CT.
More about Jamake Highwater...