Dennis, Yvonne Wakim
Dennis, Yvonne Wakim
PERSONAL: Married; children: one son.
ADDRESSES: Home—New York, NY; Bushkill, PA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Charlesbridge Publishing, 85 Main St., Watertown, MA 02472.
CAREER: Writer, curriculum developer, and consultant on multiculturalism to government, educators, and corporations.
AWARDS, HONORS: Notable Books for a Global Society Award, Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices 2004 List, both for Children of Native America Today.
(As Yvonne Beamer; with Arlene Hirschfelder) Native Americans Today: Resources and Activities for Educators, Grades 4-8, Teacher Ideas Press (Englewood, CO), 2000.
(With Arlene Hirschfelder) Children of Native America Today ("Shakti for Children" series), foreword by Buffy Sainte-Marie, Charlesbridge Publishing (Watertown, MA), 2003.
Sequoyah, 1770?–1843 ("American Indian Biographies" series), Blue Earth Books (Mankato, MN), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Yvonne Wakim Dennis is a writer of curriculum materials that focus on Native-American peoples and multicultural diversity. She has also acted as a consultant on these topics to state and federal government agencies, corporations, and educational communities. Dennis has collaborated with Arlene Hirschfelder in writing Native Americans Today: Resources and Activities for Educators, Grades 4-8 and Children of Native America Today, a volume in the "Shakti for Children" series. The latter book, while noting that North America has more than 500 native cultures, focuses on twenty-five Native American communities in the geographic regions of the Northeast, Southeast, Central, Plains, Basin-Plateau, Southwest, and Northwest. One section of the book is devoted to Native Americans living in urban areas. A two-page profile is dedicated to each community. Dennis and Hirschfelder include the little-known fact that New York City has the largest Native-American population in the country, and they discount the myth that most Native Americans live on reservations. Each community is identified by location, and data on schools, parent occupations, and leisure activities are also included. Some of the accompanying photographs show children in traditional dress, but most show them in contemporary dress, doing everyday things. A map indicates where each community is located.
The authors use rhetorical "did you know?" questions to point to interesting facts. They note that the Passamaquoddy tribe has the third-largest blueberry farm in the world and that the Supai of Arizona receive their mail by pack-mule train. They also profile individual Native Americans and reveal some of the fascinating details about their lives. For example, before he ran for office, state senator Bill Yellowtail asked for guid-ance from the Crow counsel. The bibliography includes books, magazines, organizations, and Web sites, and an index and glossary are included.
Janice M. Del Negro, who reviewed the volume for the Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books, wrote that "the selection of tribes and cultures is broad, and its contemporary focus and geographic organization are unusual and welcome." Del Negro added that the "impression of the communities presented is one of intense richness and variety." A Kirkus Reviews contributor called Children of Native America Today "a well thought-out, neatly executed, and extremely attractive volume that strives to fulfill the promise of its title."
Dennis also wrote Sequoyah, 1770?–1843 for the "American Indian Biographies" series. In 1821 Sequoyah, a Cherokee, demonstrated to his people that he had discovered a way to write their language, a method still in use today. Like the other books in the series, this volume includes a chronology, glossary, reading list, related Internet sites, and an authentic recipe. Works of art by past and contemporary American artists that illustrate the themes of the book are also featured.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2004, Karen Hutt, review of Sequoyah, 1770?–1843, p. 1754; March 1, 2003, Linda Perkins, review of Children of Native America Today, p. 1193.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May, 2003, Janice M. Del Negro, review of Children of Native America Today, p. 359.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2003, review of Children of Native America Today, p. 304.
School Library Journal, July, 2004, Jerry D. Flack review of Sequoyah, 1770?–1843, p. 92; October, 2003, Dona J. Helmer, review of Children of Native America Today, p. 149