“Dine Bizaad: Speak, Read, Write Navajo,” a book by Irvy W. Goosen, has just been given to the library by an anonymous donor. This is a first-year Navajo language textbook, which includes an audio tape narrated by Peter Thomas. It emphasizes the vocabulary and grammar skills essential for learning this very difficult language.
Navajo claims more speakers than any other Native American or First Nation language north of the U.S.-Mexico border, with more than 175,000 native speakers, virtually all here in the Southwest. During World War II, a code based on Navajo was used by code talkers to send secure military messages over radio.
The Navajo code talkers, whose numbers exceeded 400 in the Pacific Theater during the course of World War II, have been credited with saving countless lives and hastening the end of the war. It has been said that were it not for the Navajo code talkers, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima.
Code talkers served in all six Marine divisions from 9142 to 1945. A major advantage of the code talker system was its speed. Morse code often took hours whereas the Navajos handled a message in minutes. At that time, the Navajos’ unwritten language was understood by fewer than 30 non-Navajos.
The size and complexity of the language made the code extremely difficult to comprehend, much less decipher. It was not until 1968 that the code was declassified by the U.S. government. In 2002 Hollywood made a movie about the code talkers, thus revealing their heroic actions to many Americans for the first time.
The richness of the Navajo culture and language also is celebrated in the 18 mysteries and other writings of best-selling author Tony Hillerman, set among the Navajo of the Four Corners and featuring Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Sgt. Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police. We have a total of 48 Tony Hillerman books or audio tapes at the Sisson Library. This collection includes several photography books for which Hillerman wrote the text.
The seventh and last free Lifelong Learning 2009 spring lecture at the library from 3 to 4:15 p.m. takes place this Saturday, May 9. Dr. James Kline, licensed psychologist, will speak on “Ancient Wisdom: The Psychology of Eastern Religion.” Our thanks to Pagosa residents Patsy Lindblad and Pam Kircher for planning and organizing this stimulating and far-ranging series of lectures.
Reading program for babies
You may remember reading some time ago in this column that your Sisson Library is one of 10 public librarians in Colorado that has been honored with a special grant to implement the Colorado State Library’s “Every Child Ready to Read” program. “Every Child Ready to Read” is a national initiative to help public libraries promote pre-literacy skills in children from birth through age five. In the program, children are exposed to language and literature, with the goal of having them arrive at kindergarten ready to learn. Parents and caregivers also can learn techniques for engaging their babies and young children in language and literacy games that promote learning and school-readiness.
This program is being implemented every Monday morning at 10–10:30 a.m. in a special lap-sit storytime called “Sprouts” for parents and little ones up to 18 months. We now have received even more books to help us implement this program: “Chicken Little,” “Orange Pear Apple Bear,” “Where is the Green Sheep?,” “Birds,” “1, 2, Buckle My Shoe,” “Pssst,” “Duck & Goose, How Are You Feeling?” and “Scoot!”
Books on CD
“Blood Brothers” is the latest thriller by Nora Roberts. “Promises in Death” by J.D. Robb is a mystery set in futuristic New York City. “Corsair” by Clive Cussler with Jack Du Brul is an adventure about pirates and terrorists set in Libya. “Heart and Soul” by Maeve Binchy is another of this best-selling author’s books set in Ireland. “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family” by Annette Gordon-Reed is an epic work about the slave family and its connection to Thomas Jefferson. We also have Darwin’s “Origin of Species” and Bernhard Schlunk’s “The Reader” on CD, the latter becoming an award-winning movie.
“Adventures with Ari” by Kathryn Miles is the story of a woman and her new puppy. “The Lost City of Z” by David Grann is a tale of an ancient civilization in the Amazon. “Simplified Microsoft Office 2007” bills itself as the easiest guide ever to Office 2007. “A Lion Called Christian” by Anthony Bourke and John Rendall is the story of a lion cub purchased at the famous Harrods department store in London. “The Web of Debt” by Ellen Hodgson Brown is subtitled “The shocking truth about our money system and how we can break free.”
Books for pre-teens
We have three more books in the “Power of Three Warriors” series by Erin Hunter — “The Sight,” “Outcast” and “Dark River.” We also have “Things Not Seen,” by Andrew Clements about a high school boy who suddenly becomes invisible. All these books are written for kids aged 9 through 13.
Books for teens
“Princess in Pink” is volume five of the Princess Diaries series. ”“In Odd We Trust” is a graphic novel by Dean Koontz about a natural-born hero with a supernatural twist. “Outcast” by Aaron Allston is part of the Star Wars Fate of the Jedi series.
Thanks to our donors
For books and materials this week we thank Ian Barton, Jackie Conrod, Lynn Constan, Donna Elliott, Diane and Marc Fackler, Pat Evans, Greg Giles, Roy and Betsy Gill, Ron Graydon, Carole Howard, Sarah Jackson, Felicia Meyer, Dick Ray, Vivian Roder and Barbara Rotureau.
“There is no remedy so easy as books, which if they do not give cheerfulness, at least restore quiet to the most troubled mind.” — Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1761), English society figure and letter writer.
For more information on library books, services and programs — and to reserve books from the comfort of your home — please visit our Web site at www.pagosa.colibraries.org.