Southwest Children's  Literature

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The Same Sun Was in the Sky

Book Review:

While hiking in the Arizona Sonoran Desert, a young boy and his grandfather return to their special place, a Hohokam American Indian site. The story is told in the first person from the boy's point of view. He asks Grandpa questions about the people who carved the petroglyphs in the rock over five hundred years ago: what do the carvings mean? Why did the Hohokam come to this particular spot? How might they have harvested the fruit that grows high on the saguaro cactus? Grandpa shares what he knows about Hohokam culture while the boy wonders about a Hohokam boy who might have carved on these rocks, a boy who would have known the meaning of these symbols. The story ends with the boy speculating about a boy from the future who may visit his own house and uncover artifacts from the 21st-century. What will that boy think about the narrator's culture? And will the Hohokam petroglyphs still be here in this special place and will the future boy wonder about them, too?

The author's note includes information about the Hohokam. Scientists are still learning about these people who were the first to etch pictures onto seashells which they must have acquired in trades with people living near the Gulf of Cortez in Mexico. The Hohokam seemed to have disappeared around 1500, or perhaps they became the ancestors of the modern-day Pima or Tohono O'odham. The illustrations by Walter Porter capture desert light and hue. The soft tones of his watercolor images add to the sentimental quality of the intergenerational sharing. The endpapers are petroglyphs, and students will note the symbols found on most of the pages as they read.

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