In the latest episode, host Paul Gowder interviewed two Native American authors, Kim Rogers and Laurel Goodluck, who have been making waves in the literary world with their beautifully crafted children's books. Both authors have dedicated themselves to sharing their tribe's history and stories through their writing, offering a unique and powerful perspective to young readers. This article will delve into their backgrounds, their passion for writing, and the importance of representation in children's literature.
Kim Rogers: Finding Her Calling
Kim Rogers, a member of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, shared her journey as a writer. For Kim, writing was not something she immediately pursued. However, her childhood experiences laid the foundation for her passion for storytelling. From writing her first poem in first grade to crafting stories based on spelling words in fourth grade, Kim discovered her knack for writing at a young age. Despite pursuing various majors in college, it was the power of emotions and stories that drew her to focus on writing. It was later in life when she realized the lack of Native representation, specifically Wichita individuals, in children's books that led her to embark on her career as a children's book author.
Laurel Goodluck: Tales of Family and Resilience
Laurel Goodluck, a member of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nations of North Dakota and a citizen of a tribe in Alaska, shared her own unique path to becoming an author. Initially, Laurel had not considered writing as a viable career option. Her background in counseling and family studies allowed her to work closely with children and advocate for their well-being. It was through community advocacy and counseling that she discovered the power of storytelling and its ability to empower children and help them connect with their cultures. Influenced by familial gatherings filled with stories of ancestors' resiliency and leadership, Laurel became inspired to write books that depicted contemporary Native lives, aiming to fill the void she experienced during her own childhood.
The Birth of Their Books
Both Kim Rogers and Laurel Goodluck have made significant contributions to children's literature with their compelling narratives. Kim's debut picture book, “Just Like Grandma,” illustrated by Julie Flett, tells the heartwarming story of an intergenerational bond and the passing down of traditions. Her other works, “A Letter for Bob” and “I Am Osage: How Clarence Tinker Became the First Native American Major General,” showcase the importance of representation and share untold stories of Native American heroes. Laurel's book, “Forever Cousins,” beautifully illustrated by Jonathan Nelson, explores the themes of family and connection.
The Impact of Representation
During the interview, both authors highlighted the significance of representation in children's literature. Kim mentioned how growing up, she never saw books that depicted individuals who looked like her, leading her to believe that writing couldn't be a viable career. Laurel echoed these sentiments, emphasizing that by depicting modern Native lives in their books, they aimed to show children the strength and resilience of their ancestors, ultimately empowering them to be good role models within their communities.
The episode featuring Kim Rogers and Laurel Goodluck shed light on the importance of representation in children's literature. These talented authors have dedicated themselves to sharing Native stories and providing young readers with narratives that reflect their experiences and heritage. Through their books, Kim and Laurel are breaking barriers, inspiring future generations, and reshaping the narrative landscape of children's literature. The Powwows podcast continues to bring diverse voices to the forefront, highlighting the power of storytelling and the impact it can have on individuals from all walks of life.
Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Paul G