Capaldi, Gina. 2008. A BOY NAMED BECKONING: THE TRUE STORY OF DR. CARLOS MONTEZUMA, NATIVE AMERICAN HERO. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books. ISBN 9780822576440 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-6]
A Yawapati boy, Beckoning in his native language, grows up to become Dr. Carlos Montezuma, a Native American hero and rights activist. Sold as a slave by Pima Indians at age five to a white man, Beckoning travels the U.S. with his adoptive father Carlo Gentile until financial ruin forces him to leave Carlos behind. Working at jobs and an education, he earns a scholarship to medical school, and eventually searches for his family, practices medicine, and becomes an activist for his ancestral people’s right to remain on their own land.
Using letters from Dr. Montezuma, Capaldi weaves the doctor’s original words into the true story of his life. With original photographs and captions in sidebars, the author provides details that complement the original art and add to the narrative information. Extensive author notes and bibliography comprise the back matter.
This book shows objectively the plight of Native Americans in the 1870’s through the eyes of one man who becomes a figure of respect and the voice of his people, while at the same time addresses the issues of discrimination throughout his life.
This book could be a starting point for a study of Native Americans and the discrimination they suffered, as well as a study of diverse American heroes. Young readers can also examine the different sources used in developing a biography including letters and photographs.
Other books for children about Native Americans:
Secakuku, Susan. MEET MINDAY: A NATIVE GIRL FROM THE SOUTHWEST. ISBN 0836837940
Speroff, Leon. CARLOS MONTEZUMA, M.D.: A YAVAPAI AMERICAN HERO. ISBN 0972653546
By Shirley Smith Duke