There Is a Tribe of Kids

A child travels through sundry of animals: a smack of jellyfish, a turn of turtles, an PB_Smith_There-is-a-Tribe-of-Kids-300x231.jpgunkindness of ravens and miscellaneous inanimate items: a formation of rocks, a pile of rubble, an ocean of blue until he finds a tribe of kids to call home. The subtle play on words (the line of turtles actually turns and the opening pages show a tribe of kids as in baby goats) heighten the interest in the child’s travels, but it isn’t until the end that we realize his journey is one to find home, where “there WAS a tribe of kids” turns into “there IS a tribe of kids”.

Lane Smith‘s gorgeous illustrations fill in all the blanks of the spare text. There Is a Tribe of Kids is a must-read for all ages.

Additional note, January 24, 2017: There’s something I missed when reading this book. Debbie Reese talks about the word tribe and its use in this book over several posts on the American Indians in Children’s Literature blog, and also gives several links to other opinions about the book. Please read them. I think these responses to the book are important and I now see how imagery in the book reflects that American Indian stereotype that’s been in so many children’s books.


About AnEducationInBooks

Wendy BooydeGraaff is the author of Salad Pie, a children's picture book published by Ripple Grove Press. Her work has been published in Emrys Journal Online, The Emerson Review, Jellyfish Review, Bending Genres, SmokeLong Quarterly and Leopardskin & Limes, and is forthcoming in NOON. Read more work at or find her on Twitter @BooyTweets.
This entry was posted in Love that art, Love that prose, Picture books, Word choice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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