Red Bird by Barbara Mitchell

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Synopsis

Katie, also known as Red Bird, joins her family and other Indians at the annual powwow in southern Delaware, where they celebrate their Nanticoke heritage with music, dancing, and special foods.
 

About Barbara Mitchell

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In Her Own Words..."Some of my earliest memories are of my grandmother, rocking in her wicker rocking chair, telling me stories of "the olden days." The summer her neighbor paid her a nickel for every bullfrog she caught. The time she stole a prize peach from her father's tree. I couldn't get enough of them."It was my third-grade teacher who introduced me to the Marguerite De Angeli books (Henner's Lydia; Skippack School; Thee, Hannah!; and so on). Again, stories about real places and people in times gone by. Inspired, I decided I wanted to be a teacher -not because I especially wanted to teach anyone anything, but because at the end of each day I could read my class the books I loved."It wasn't until after I bad really become a teacher, though, that I discovered that I not only wanted to read those books, I wanted to write them. When my husband and I adopted our infant daughter, I left reaching to become a full-time mother and a part-time writer. Each afternoon, while Wendy took her nap, I settled down with pad and pencil,"As a fledgling author, I eagerly attended every conference on children's books that I could rind. At one I turned to a gentle-looking lady with twinkling eyes that reminded me of my grandmother's. Whom should I discover but Marguerite De Angell herself! The muchloved Philadelphia writer graciously took me under her wing. Turned out she'd lived for a time in Chester, Pennsylvania, where I'd grown up, and we shared a love for the Amish and for old Philadelphia. I went home from that conference walking on air, with a new confidence that I too could turn out stories rich in history and cultural detail."My hometown itself was rich in history. William Penn had landed in Chester before going on to found his City of Brotherly Love. The Liberty Bell and Betsy Ross's house were only twenty minutes away. The Amish life of Lancaster County was a Sunday drive away. And many of the ideas for my books have sprung from those childhood experiences. Dawn Buttermilk Lane grew from my girlhood wish to change places with the Amish children and go clip-clopping down the lane in one of those buggies myself."Other stories have been inspired by the history of the Delaware/Maryland/Chesapeake Bay area where I now live. Red Bird sprang to life on the way home from a visit to the Nanticoke powwow near Millsboro, Delaware, in 1991. Waterman's Child sprang from a visit to Tilghman Island, Maryland, scouting antiques."Life has a way of coming full circle. I'm the grandmother now. "Tell me about when you were a little girl," my granddaughter, Jessi, begs."We snuggle up and I begin, "When I was a little girl, I wanted curly hair more than anything. So my best friend's mother gave me a Toni--and all my hair fell out!" Todd taught illustration at the American Academy of Art from 1984 through 1987, and he continues to give workshops in illustration. His first children's book, The Stone Lion, by Alan Schroeder (Scribners), was published in 1994. Since then, he has illustrated books about such diverse subjects as the Sleeping Beauty ballet, a Native American powwow, and a fatherand-son fishing trip.Whenever possible, Todd likes to get Firsthand reference for his paintings. He spent several days at the Nanticoke powwow, observing and taking photographs to create the paintings for Red Bird by Barbara Mitchell. Gathering materials for his most recent book, January Rides the Wind: A Book of Months by Charlotte F. Otten, was particularly fun for him. "I got to spend time, lots of time, with these great kids I know, including my sons, Reid and Jesse. And there's a special energy--a vitality-that seems to transfer to the art when you've witnessed the scene yourself. There's nothing like it!"In His Own Words..."I was born in Chicago and grew up in the near north suburbs. I can't remember when I started drawing, but it was early. In fact, I won a drawing contest at the age of three. I don't remember what I drew (I was told later that it was Casper the Friendly Ghost and his family), but I do remember the first-place prize, which was a rocking horse."Growing up, my two loves were art and sports. So after deciding not to pursue a career as a professional baseball player, I decided to go to art college. The fact that I didn't receive any scholarships to play baseball hastened my decision. The art college of my choice was the American Academy of Art in Chicago. Under the guidance of some of the most talented artists in Chicago, I decided to become an Illustrator."After graduating in 1982, I obtained my first commission, a football illustration for a major monthly magazine. I have been working as an illustrator ever since."
 
Published May 17, 1996 by HarperCollins. 1 pages
Genres: Travel, Children's Books.

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Kirkus Reviews

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Mitchell (Down Buttermilk Lane, 1993, etc.) makes the Nanticoke powwow near Millsboro, Delaware, an event that becomes a visual feast in Doney's eye-catching illustrations.

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Publishers Weekly

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She is Red Bird, Nanticoke Daughter."" After the powwow, she sheds her beaded, fringed leather dress and returns to the city, but ""the heartbeat of The People stays with her all year long."" The exhilaration of the powwow, tempered by its brevity, makes for a bittersweet afterglow;

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