Author: Michael Dorris
Submitted by: jae
The beautiful language in this book captivates students as they read about what life was like for two Taino children before Columbus. The book alternates between chapters written by a brother and sister (good for point of view) It was the custom of the Taino to name people based on something characteristic of the person. Morning Girl was named because she woke early and enjoyed the early part of the day.
As a culminating activity I had students research the origin of their names - why their parents chose them, etc... I had them write a paragraph about it and then I had them choose a name they (or their parents) would give them if they were to follow the custom of the Taino people. Finally, students chose one of the two and made nameplates for themselves that explained the reasoning. They came out wonderfully. One student made his on a CD; he was Tune Boy. Another Jewel was done in metallic paper dripping with jewels; mathworm was done in the form of a segmented worm with equations on each segment (this for an avid reader and lover of math). I put them all up on a bulletin board titled What's in a Name?
This could also be used as a native American connection for Sing Down The Moon.