#PPBF/ Lewis Tewanima, Born to Run

Hi Friends!

Lewis Tewanima_Happy Friday! Here is my Perfect Picture Book Friday selection for today. I hope you like it! As you will remember, Sharon Solomon the author of this wonderful biography has appeared on my blog several times. Once in an interview and twice for books she’s authored, Christopher Newport and Cathy Williams,Buffalo Soldier.

She is in my SCBWI picture book critique group and we are so proud of her! I am thrilled to review her newest biography about a famous Hopi Indian, Lewis Tewanima.

I hope you like this and ask your librarian to get it if it is not in stock. Or let us know. We will donate a copy. 

Title: Lewis Tewanima/ Born to Run

Author/illustrator: Sharon K. Solomon/ Lisa Fields

Ages appropriate for: Picture Book lovers of all ages

Publishing info: Pelican Publishing Company 2014/ biography

Themes: Native American, biography, Olympic Athletes, Hopi Indian, runners

Resources:  The Hopi Tribe named a race in Lewis Tewanima’s honor where if you are a runner there is still time to register for the early bird discount. 

Sharon Solomon was honored in our local newspaper, “Leesburg Today.”

Pelican Publishing has a ‘for teachers‘ header on their home page web site. This site gives a teacher ways to enlighten a subject in the classroom. 

First three sentences: “Lewis Tewanima loved to run. He ran all the way from his home on Second Mesa to Winslow and back just to watch the trains go by. That was one hundred twenty miles! Then he climbed the steep stone steps cut into the mesa to reach his village.

From the jacket: In 1906, there lived a young Hopi man named Lewis Tewanima who loved to run. One day, Tewanima was forcefully taken from his village on Second Mesa, Arizona, and sent to a boarding school in Pennsylvania, where he was forced to give up his Hopi culture and learn American ways. While there, however, Tewanima was encouraged to run and he eventually won many marathons and competed in the Olympics twice.

This age-appropriate biography teaches children about the prejudice and hardships that Tewanima and other American Indians endured as well s the hope and strength of character that kept Tewanima strong. The government tried to rid him of his language and traditions, but Tewanima always ran for his tribe, keeping his heritage alive in his heart. Accurate and informative illustrations bring to life the peaceful beauty of the Southwest and the wider world that threatened to change it. Tewanima lived long ago, but his life still has much to teach us. Parents and children will see the true effects of the racism of the age in the story of one incredible athlete. “

Why I Love it: In this biography, Sharon Solomon, very carefully tells the reader about the culture shock Lewis went through when he was forcefully taken from his Hopi Village on Second Mesa and sent to Carlisle Pennsylvania. In historical biography the task of writing the necessary facts in an exciting way is the hard job. Knowing what to put in and what to leave out is the hard job, and Sharon Solomon does it with an art she crafted from her earlier books, Christopher Newport: James town Explorer and Cathy Williams, Buffalo Soldier.

Lisa Fields, the illustrator, precisely depicted the beauty of New Mexico life Lewis leaves behind, and shows the difficulty that cannot be told in the text.

The reader is rewarded by the ending where Lewis goes back home to the Mesa and lives out his remaining years. He started life as a runner and ran for his tribe as a Native American Indian and set an American record that was not broken till 1967.

This picture book for all ages is a testament of the cruelty of the 1906 American Government and the strength of one Native American Indian who won Olympic medals and won many marathons.

And what Patricia Tilton says in her blog Children’s Books Heal: 

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

What about you? Do you think you’ll like reading this book?

Have a great weekend!

See you next Tuesday here for a new post. 🙂

(c) Clara Bowman-Jahn aka Clarike Bowman-Jahn

Other books by Sharon Solomon:

Cathy Williams Buffalo SoldierChristopher Newport book cover4

About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
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22 Responses to #PPBF/ Lewis Tewanima, Born to Run

  1. What a gem! Wish I found it first — I love to read stories like this. We need to see more PB about Native Americans and the way we treated them. Children must know these stories about the history of their county. Will see if my library has a copy and will suggest they order a copy, if not.


  2. Great pick to promote the ned for diversity, Clar. On my list now!


  3. Joanna says:

    Super choice with all the focus on diversity in kidlit at the moment, Clar!


  4. This sounds like a fantastic book, Clar. I’d very much like to read it. And I know a lot of runners who would probably appreciate it too. I think books that open kids’ eyes to this kind of culture shock are very valuable for kids. Thanks so much for sharing this one!


  5. Margot Finke says:

    Lewis Tewanima, Born to Run, is one of those books every teacher should read to their class. When history is made to feel exciting and personal kids remember the details. The Indians were shamefully treated, rather like the Australian aboriginals when the white man landed there. Each generation needs to LEARN that it is wrong to do such things to indigenous people – wherever they might be. Wonderful books like Sharon’s teach history as well as a love of reading, Awesome!

    Pinned to Book Reviews (kids to YA) on my Pinterest

    Books for Kids – Dreamtime Man (soon)


    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Margot!

      I agree that each generation needs to learn from history and that it is wrong to treat people like this.

      Thanks for sharing on Pinterest. 🙂


  6. Wendy says:

    Glad I saw this! When we visited AZ this past summer I saw the information about the boarding school in Carlisle and took notes. It is definitely a story that kids should know about.


    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Wendy!

      I think that is how Sharon decided to write this because of her visit to AZ and seeing the same info you did. It is very powerful. 🙂


  7. Darlene says:

    I just returned from New Mexico and was so impressed by the Native Americans living there. Such kind, gentle souls. It is important that children be aware of this part of North American history where children were taken from their homes and culture to learn the European ways. How upsetting it must have been for them. (it happened in Canada too) I will look for this book.


    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Darlene!

      It’s hard to believe that the Europeans thought they were helping. They were just ignorant of keeping a culture intact. Yes, it must have been upsetting. 🙂


  8. It looks like I am going to have to look up Sharon Solomon’s books in my library!


  9. This sounds great! I love the opening lines.


  10. Definitely going on my reading list!


  11. What a fascinating tale!! I love to run too! I’ll have to find this one. Thanks for sharing!


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