Read The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble Free Online
Book Title: The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses|
The author of the book: Paul Goble
ISBN 13: 9780689845048
Edition: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
Date of issue: February 1st 2001
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 12.74 MB
City - Country: No data
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Reader ratings: 4.8
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For the most part, I enjoyed The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses and truly loved the boldly expressive illustrations. However, while I can certainly understand why this book won the Caldecott Medal, and that many have fond memories of it, that many simply adore this book, the controversies of authenticity and charges of cultural appropriation that have been levelled at Paul Goble have made me approach The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses rather critically and with some trepidation. And while I do think that some of the criticisms might have been rather over the top so to speak and exceedingly harsh, Paul Goble has certainly invited some if not much of this himself (with how he has approached the controversies, with his own reactions to the same, reactions that I have found rather extreme and at times massively childish and petty). With this in mind, the following rather lengthy musings are not so much an analysis of the story and the accompanying illustrations (as I have already mentioned, I generally rather enjoyed them, hence a high two star rating), but more my personal attitudes towards the controversies surrounding Thje Girl Who Loved Wild Horses.
For me, personally, one of the main issues with The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses is the lack of specific information about conception and development. Not only is the Native American tribe to which the girl belongs never specifically mentioned, there is also no author's note, no acknowledgement of sources or possible sources. There is thus no way of knowing whether the story is a retelling of a Native American tale (or tales) or whether it represents a story made up by Paul Goble (the story itself is not at all inappropriate in scope, but I can certainly understand why many Native Americans and even some folklorists regard this tale with more than a bit of suspicion). And really, not acknowledging the sources of "Native American" tales, especially if they are not written by Native Americans, is seen by more than a few Native Americans as problematic at best; some actually consider it massive and unforgivable cultural appropriation. I personally cannot totally and without a nagging sense of incompleteness enjoy traditional folk or fairy tale retellings that do not have an author's note showing sources, background and the like, but with Native American, Native Canadian retellings (in fact, with many if not most retellings of stories based on aboriginal cultures, taken from aboriginal traditions and lore), leaving this information out is not only a lack, is not only something that leaves out information culturally and often historically relevant and interesting, but is in many ways also rather a sign of disrespect (at least that is my opinion, and I know it is an opinion shared by many Native peoples).
The fact that many teachers use Paul Goble in social studies units or in units specifically on Native American culture is precisely one of the main reasons why some Native American scholars and activists have issues with him and his work, as they basically believe that Paul Goble has gotten very rich and very famous from his retellings (so to speak) of Native American tales, but that he has (at least according to them) never really reached out to Native American communities and tribes (but simply appropriated Native American culture and lore without acknowledgement and without humility).
Goble might have, indeed, vetted his stories with certain tribal elders, as he has claimed (but that is hear-say, and I know that it is not universally accepted or believed). If I were a teacher, while I would most probably still use Paul Goble's retellings as folklore (but only with older children), I would definitely discuss the controversies surrounding his stories, and I would also juxtapose Goble's stories with tales that have (in my opinion) better and more detailed author's notes. And I would most certainly never feature only Paul Goble's stories, but make his oeuvre part of a unit on Native folklore (I would furthermore make sure that I included folklore stories retold and collected by Native American/Canadian authors, such as Joseph Bruchac, who in fact, almost always includes detailed and interesting supplemental information and appropriate cultural acknowledgements).
I do realise that author's notes are actually a relatively recent phenomenon, and thus, I was curious as to whether Paul Goble does now include supplemental information in his Native American retellings. And yes, he does seem to now add actual references, although he just lists them and does not specifically state of which of the listed entries he has made use. I'm not trying to sound dismissive here, but to me Paul Goble (even though many of his stories are lovely, with equally wonderful illustrations) still has not done a good enough job documenting his sources (and in the newer books, it seems almost as though he has and very grudgingly responded to the criticism that his earlier books lacked source materials by simply overloading us with a reference section, but one that is simply listed, in a to me rather user unfriendly manner, and perhaps even deliberately so). One is still not given information as to from exactly where, from which of the sources featured, Goble's tales have been gleaned, which in a good supplemental author's note, should and would be the case.
But for me, even more problematic (and yes, I know I am veering a bit off topic here, but I think this is necessary) is that for some of the more recent Iktomi retellings (the ones I found in my local library), Paul Goble has actually (in the front material) poked some rather nasty fun at his critics (mostly his Native American critics). In Iktomi And The Coyote, Paul Goble writes "Hi kids! I'M IKTOMI! That white guy, Paul Goble, is telling my stories again. Only Native Americans can tell Native American stories. So, let's not have anything to do with them. Huh?" And in Iktomi and the Ducks: A Plains Indian Story, Paul Goble goes as far as to write in the front material, "There goes that white guy, Paul Goble, telling another story about me ... My attorney will Sioux." Maybe Paul Goble thought and thinks that this was and is funny, but I found it quite offensive and I bet that many Native Americans would find it offensive as well (it certainly does nothing to give me a more positive attitude towards Goble, in fact, it makes him appear childish and whiningly petulant).
I was actually more than willing to give Paul Goble the benefit of a doubt with regard to the lack of an author's note in The Girl Who loved Wild Horses (let's face it, only recently, have author's notes come to be common and expected) until I saw these "humorous" quotes in the two Iktomi books I got from the library. I can understand that he might be a bit annoyed and even legitimately angered at some of the criticism (especially if he feels that his books are, in fact, respectful to Native Americans), but his way of showing his displeasure is not at all funny and smacks of the kind of attitudes towards Native Americans that have created this situation. I am actually glad to have gone to the library and searched for these books because it kind of has justified my rather critical attitude towards Paul Goble and his work. I would still use his work with children, but I would most definitely not only discuss the controversies, I would also be very critical and even publicly critical of him (especially with regard to the Iktomi books, that is just so unacceptable, it defies description, and is probably the main reason why I have now after careful thought and analysis decided on a two star and not a three star rating).
Finally, just to point out again, I actually do think that Paul Goble might have received a perhaps slightly undeserved rough ride with regard to his work as a whole. However, he should have been intelligent enough and intuitive/perceptive enough to have realised that his retellings might feel like cultural approbation to some and perhaps even many Native Americans. I do not think that even if Paul Goble had added what I would call better and more more detailed authors' notes (ones showing not only references but exactly which stories he had used and/or which stories he had been told), it would have silenced all of the criticism and controversy, but I think it might have silenced or perhaps mitigated at least some of it. And in my opinion (and sorry about being repetitive), the supposedly humorous jabs in the front materials of the two Iktomi books I found at our public library show not only massive disrespect and a patronising attitude towards Native Americans and actually children in general, but also show that Paul Goble obviously has a rather inflated opinion of himself and only very grudgingly accepts any type of criticism.
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Read information about the authorPaul Goble was an award winning author and illustrator of children's books. He has won both the Caldecott Medal and The Library of Congress' Children's Book of the Year Award.
He gave his entire collection of original illustrations to the South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings, South Dakota.
Goble, a native of England, studied at the Central School of Art in London. He became a United States citizen in 1984. Goble's life-long fascination with Native Americans of the plains began during his childhood when he became intrigued with their spirituality and culture.
His illustrations accurately depict Native American clothing, customs and surroundings in brilliant color and detail. Goble researched ancient stories and retold them for his young audiences in a manner sympathetic to Native American ways.
Goble lived with his wife in Rapid City, SD.
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