People of the Breaking Day

Brief Description: Picture book depicting daily life for Native American Wampanoag before first contact with Europeans. Companion book to author’s The Pilgrims of Plimouth and Thunder from the Clear Sky.

Geographical Setting: , , ,

Historical Era:

Date Range: 1620

Keywords: , , , , , , , , , ,

Original Publication: 1990

Suitable for Grades: 1-6th

Target Audience: Picture Book, Chapter Book

Librarian's Review

The collective children of a Native American Wampanoag village talk about their daily lives, some of their beliefs, their social structure, and their interaction with other indigenous nations nearby, including the occasional war.  The young boys tell about training for hunting, making arrows, fishing hooks and nets, and describe the men making a canoe-like vessel and building homes. The girls narrate how they help their mothers with food preparation, the planting of corn and beans, foraging for other plants and nuts, and making clay pots.  The striking gouache paintings by the author accompany the text on every page and beautifully portray the scenes of everyday life.

Their leader of the village is Massasoit, which places the setting of this story at or near Patuxet Village.  There is no reference to any encounters with Europeans, so the time frame must be prior to the arrival of the Mayflower in November 1620.  Back matter includes a glossary and a translation of Wampanoag/Narragansett words.   This book is a companion book to author’s The Pilgrims of Plimouth and Thunder from the Clear Sky.

More information about historic Patuxet Village can be found on the The Plimouth Patuxet Museums website.  There are excellent resources to learn more about the indigenous Wampanoag people and the English settlers.  Some resource pages are Teacher Toolkit, visiting Historic Patuxet Homesite, and more about the Wampanoag.   There is even an excellent interactive game about Thanksgiving (it might take a few minutes to load on your PC.)

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