By Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson
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A magical realistic middle grade debut about the origin story of the Iñupiaq Messenger Feast, a Native Alaskan tradition.
As his family prepares for winter, a young, skilled hunter must travel up the mountain to collect obsidian for knapping—the same mountain where his two older brothers died.
When he reaches the mountaintop, he is immediately confronted by a terrifying eagle god named Savik. Savik gives the boy a choice: follow me or die like your brothers.
What comes next is a harrowing journey to the home of the eagle gods and unexpected lessons on the natural world, the past that shapes us, and the community that binds us.
Eagle Drums by Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson is part cultural folklore, part origin myth about the Messenger’s Feast – which is still celebrated in times of bounty among the Iñupiaq. It’s the story of how Iñupiaq people were given the gift of music, song, dance, community, and everlasting tradition.
Praise for Eagle Drums:
“Eagle Drums marks the impressive debut of a gifted writer. Rainey gives readers an engrossing, exciting look into Iñupiaq culture while offering invaluable lessons about the power of community, kinship and celebrations.” —BookPage, starred review
“Iñupiaq author and illustrator Hopson enhances the story with full-page color illustrations that visually connect readers with Piŋa’s journey and emphasize the importance of connections to nature, spiritual beings, and human relatives.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“The narrative showcases a treasury of details about Native Alaskan life and traditions; enthralling details of building design, clothing, crafts, food storage, nutrition, transportation, and other day-to-day practices in the Arctic will appeal to survival story afficionados as well as readers eager to learn about Indigenous cultures and histories.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson has accomplished something truly monumental. Through her impressive talents as a writer and artist, Rainey shares cultural teachings and, indeed, the art of storytelling with readers of all ages. Eagle Drums is a masterpiece!” —Angeline Boulley, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Firekeeper’s Daughter and Warrior Girl Unearthed
“Tears at this beautiful story. Where were these books when I was a teen?!” —Carole Lindstrom, author of Caldecott Medal winner We Are Water Protectors
“Eagle Drums is a deeply compelling folktale brought to life. Readers of any age will be swept away by this fascinating story.” —Dan Gemeinhart, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Midnight Children
“A soaring story of family and courage, culture and community, wonder and resilience.” —Cynthia Leitich Smith, anthologist of Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids