The Good Rainbow Road
80 pages, 11 x 10
color illustrations throughout
Release Date:15 Oct 2010

The Good Rainbow Road

By Simon Ortiz; Illustrated by Michael Lacapa
The University of Arizona Press

This is the story of two courageous boys and of how they saved their village. Their village is called Haapaahnitse, Oak Place, and it lies at the foot of a mountain. Once there was a lake and a stream nearby, but they have dried up. Once rain and snow came, but no more. Not only did the crops wither and die, even the hardy oak trees have become brittle sticks. The land has become barren and dry.

Two brothers, Tsaiyah-dzehshi, whose name means First One, and Hamahshu-dzehshi, Next One, are chosen for an important mission. They are sent on a westward trek to the home of the Shiwana, the Rain and Snow Spirits, to ask them to bring the gift of water to the village again. The brothers cross deserts and mountains on an arduous journey until they are finally stopped short by a treacherous canyon filled with molten lava.

The Good Rainbow Road tells how the brothers overcome this last challenge and continue on to their destination. Written in the tradition of Native American oral storytelling and accompanied by colorful illustrations from celebrated Native artist Michael Lacapa, it brings the powers of language, memory, and imagery to a tale that will captivate children ages seven and up.

As Simon Ortiz writes, "The Good Rainbow Road is located in the Native American world, but it is not limited to that world. Even considering humankind's many ethnic differences, we are all part of each other as people and all the rest of Creation. Our stories join us together." This is the foundation of the Good Rainbow Road, and on that road young readers will broaden their understanding of humanity's common bonds.

The Good Rainbow Road is presented in Keres, the language of Acoma Pueblo and six other Pueblo communities in New Mexico, and in English, with an additional Spanish translation in the back of the book.

RELATED TOPICS: Fiction, Literature
"This book communicates on many levels--story, illustration, linguistics. It's sure to please readers both young and old--and it's an educational pleasure as well." --New Mexico Magazine
"The text is lyrical and dramatic, and Lacapa's illustrations, in rich and bold colors of the southwestern desert, suggest movement yet serve as anchors for the long spreads. This excellent volume will stand out in any collection." --School Library Journal
Poet, fiction writer, essayist, and storyteller Simon Ortiz is a native of Acoma Pueblo and is the author of numerous books. Michael Lacapa is of Apache, Hopi, and Tewa descent. He illustrated and authored fourteen pieces of literature "for the child in us all" before his death in 2005.
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