Female; children: two sons.
Home—NY. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Dutton Publicity, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.
Teacher and writer. Formerly taught college English; currently teaches English in central New York.
Book of the Year Award, International Reading Association, 2003, for Who Will Tell My Brother?
Who Will Tell My Brother?, Hyperion (New York, NY),2002.
Sweetgrass Basket, Dutton (New York, NY), 2005.
Marlene Carvell writes about issues that have faced Native-American teens, both historically and in modern times. Her first novel, Who Will Tell My Brother?, confronts the issue of racism with regard to sports mascots. The novel was loosely based on her two sons' experiences during their high-school years.
Who Will Tell My Brother? is told through free verse by narrator Evan Hill, a high-school senior trying to have his school's mascot changed. He is from a half-Mohawk family and feels that the school's Indian sports mascot is racist. Although Evan's efforts cause him to be ostra-cized by some of his fellow students and he even becomes the object of a physical attack, his message earns him the silent support of many other students at his school. "Carvell's first novel carries a clear, thought-provoking message abuot both intolerance and cultural pride," wrote Gerry Larson in a review of the book for School Library Journal. Noting the serious subject matter, a Kirkus Reviews contributor commented that Who Will Tell My Brother? "is well written, though the somber mood never lifts" and "even the small triumph at the end is subdued." Hazel Rochman, writing in Booklist, noted that Carvell's story "unfolds in quiet, spare, very readable, free-verse vignettes."
Sweetgrass Basket takes place in the late 1800s, and is told from the perspective of two Mohawk sisters who are forced to go to the Carlisle Indian School. There, they are stripped of their language and Native culture and taught how to assimilate into white society. The two sisters manage to retain some of their unique identity, however, despite the treatment they are given. "Readers will be deeply moved by the sisters' loving connection in a world of cruel authority," wrote Rochman, while a Kirkus Reviews contributor commented that Carvell's "satisfying read will awaken young readers to a situation often ignored in our history." According to School Library Journal contributor Nina Lindsay, the author "has put together a compelling, authentic, and sensitive portrayal." Noting that the novel includes a pronunciation guide to the Mohawk words used in the text, Martha V. Parravano concluded in her Horn Book review that, "despite the inevitable tragedy, Carvell leaves readers with hope."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, July, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of Who Will Tell My Brother?, p. 1837; August, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Sweetgrass Basket, p. 2022.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January, 2006, Karen Coats, review of Sweetgrass Basket, p. 223.
Horn Book, January-February, 2006, Martha V. Parravano, review of Sweetgrass Basket, p. 75.
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2002, review of Who Will Tell My Brother?, p. 950; August 15, 2005, review of Sweetgrass Basket, p. 910.
Reading Today, June-July, 2003, "IRA Names Award-Winning Children's Books," p. 21.
School Library Journal, July, 2002, Gerry Larson, review of Who Will Tell My Brother?, p. 114.
Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 2002, review of Who Will Tell My Brother?, p. 114; December, 2005, Nina Lindsay, review of Sweetgrass Basket, p. 142.
Hyperion Web site, http://www.hyperionbooksforchildren.com/ (June 26, 2006), profile of Carvell.