Alice Yazzie's Year

Alice Yazzie's Year


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He is a buffalo out of Montana. He has humped shoulders and slits for eyes. . . . Just remember, old blossom eater, you can stare down the wind. This old rodeo ain't everything.

Alice Yazzie is eleven, going on twelve, and with each month that passes she is beginning to see, beginning to feel. In January, she carries the smallest lamb into the hogan, because "He's all new and starry. He's too new to be cold." In July, she walks to market. "Six miles for cupcakes and strawberry pop!" In October, she is learning to sew, staying in recesses, "whipping and stitching" a costume like no one else's. And in December, Alice is sure Grandfather Tsosie has made her a bracelet, "Blue and silver-the way the world is."

New edition showcases renowned Navajo illustrator.

Thoroughly engaging and spirited female character.

Afterword provides insight into Navajo culture and symbols.

Perfect addition to Native American collections.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781582462929
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 07/14/2009
Pages: 40
Product dimensions: 10.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.20(d)
Age Range: 8 - 11 Years

About the Author

RAMONA MAHER lived in the Southwest for most of her life. She published her first book when she was just seventeen. Ramona later worked as an editor, and loved to read and to encourage young writers. Her son, poet Ramon Martinez, was instrumental in the publication of this newly illustrated edition.

Descended from a line of medicine men, SHONTO BEGAY was born and raised in the Navajo Nation community of Shonto, Arizona. He has written, illustrated, or edited more than a dozen books, and his award-winning artwork has been collected worldwide.

Read an Excerpt


The snow slowed the world,
the Navajo world.
"Go see if the sheep are fine,"
Grandfather Tsosie tells Alice Yazzie.
"The hay is frozen and so is the ground," says Alice, returning.
"The horses look like they blame me for causing this cold."
Her nose red, her chin buried in sheepskin,
she carries the smallest lamb into the hogan.
"Just for the night," says Alice Yazzie holding the lamb.
"He's all new and starry.
He's too new to be cold."
Grandfather grunts.
He doesn't say no.

Alice heats milk in a bottle over burning pinyon.
Grandfather watches.
The new lamb sucks.
The pinyon burns low.
The lamb goes to sleep.
His nose is a black star.

"It is cold out there," Alice tells Grandfather as she goes to bed.
Grandfather nods.
He wears a red fl annel shirt Alice gave him for Christmas.
He looks at the low fi re.
He looks at the lamb.
Grandfather says to Alice Yazzie,
to Alice Ben Yazzie,
"It was almost this cold the night you were born."


Alice Yazzie waits in the snow for the yellow bus.
Yellow bus takes kids to school,
to the picture shows,
to the doctor for shots,
past the black earth strip mined for power--
the kind of power that white people know.
It hums through big wires across Black Mountain,
across red canyons.
It isn't the power that Grandfather knows,
thinks Alice Ben Yazzie.
White Shell Woman told him soon they will leave:
the men and earth movers.
"Rainbows will come back," Grandfather says.
"Blue Corn Woman promises we shall have the land back.
All this will be ours."

The bus is late.
Alice watches the poles and transformers,
the big caterpillars grinding the earth.
Will they leave too late, wonders Alice Yazzie.
Will Grandfather travel to the spirit world with the snow all dirty?
Will Dawn Boy find him?
Will the world grow clear?

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Alice Yazzie's Year 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
NMkimdykstra on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Personal Response: I absolutely loved this story and need to have it in my school library. I work with Navajo students' and I love how this book depicts life on the reservation and Navajo culture. This book gives the month of the year and a snippet of what happened to Alice Yazzie during that month. This book really gets into lots of the cultural clash issues. For example, Alice Yazzie speaks out about Columbus at school. She also isn't ready to conform to what the preacher's wife expects of her. In the back of the book, Carl Gorman explains some of the portions of the book, such as the Navajo words for the months of the year.Probably my favorite part of the story is what Alice Yazzie says after visiting Disneyland:"I missed frybread," says Alice Yazzie."And I missed you, Grandfather. The worst thing was: nobody listened. The nicest thing was coming back here."AAAHHH...That is how I feel when I come back to New Mexico after being gone for a while!Library/Classroom Uses:My students could really relate to this book. I think I might try to have them write their own version of this story. This story is a little bit data, and maybe my students could bring it into the 21st century to share the variances in Navajo life today.