HIAWATHA AND THE PEACEMAKER - SYMBOLISM
by David Shannon
When I was approached by Abrams about illustrating this book, my first inclination was to turn it down. I was in the middle of several projects and busy writing my own stories, but I agreed to meet with the author, Robbie Robertson. After all, it’s not everyday you get a chance to meet one of the rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest guitarists, and his telling of the Hiawatha story was very compelling. It reminded me of some of the first books I’d illustrated, particularly The Rough-Face Girl, by Rafe Martin.
Anytime I work on a cultural folktale, it begins with research. Librarians use books like this as teaching tools, so I try to get the details as accurate as possible (it’s a great excuse to buy a bunch of books and visit museums). At the same time, I don’t want to just copy what I’ve found, so there’s some imagination involved as well. I also try to use clothing, artifacts, and setting to enhance the story through symbolism.
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Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson, illustrated by David Shannon, published by Abrams Books for Young Readers.