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When Christopher Columbus landed on the island of San Salvador in 1492, what he discovered were the Taino Indians. Told from a young Taino boy’s point of view, this is a story of how the boy tried to warn his people against welcoming the strangers, who seemed more interested in golden ornaments than friendship. Years later the boy, now an old man, looks back at the destruction of his people and their culture by the colonizers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780152013899
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 09/20/1996
Series: Voyager Books
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 32
Sales rank: 39,866
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.14(d)
Lexile: 620L (what's this?)
Age Range: 6 - 9 Years

About the Author

Jane Yolen is a highly acclaimed author who has written hundreds of books for children and adults and has won numerous awards. She and her husband divide their time between Massachussetts and Scotland. Visit her at janeyolen.com and on Twitter at @JaneYolen.


DAVID SHANNON is the illustrator of many popular picture books, including How I Became a Pirate. His numerous awards include a Caldecott Honor for No, David! He lives in Burbank, California.

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Encounter 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
pjw1173 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a good text to use when trying to help students develop their critical literacy skils. The story is told from the perspective of a young native boy whose island is 'found' by Columbus. The boy tells the reader how he distrusts Columbus and his men and tries to warn his people who don't see Columbus as a threat. The boy and others are taken by Columbus, but the boy escapes and swims back to the island. He regrets how Columbus destroyed his people and their culture.
SJeanneM on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this book had great imagery and wonderful pictures in illustration but I felt doubtful that this is what an actual Taino boy would have said and this is sort of how it was portrayed. Both my older children asked whether this was a real boy and whether this really happened and it is hard for kids to understand that part of it happened and maybe the other part didn't
nmhale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of the picture books that shows a historical event through a fictional character's perspective. He is a young Taino boy, living on the island now called San Salvador. He has a nightmare of three great winged birds with sharp white teeth. The next day, Columbus and his men arrive on three white-sailed boats. The boy tries to warn his people, but he is just a child, and ignored. His people offer Columbus the welcome they give to all strangers, and are fooled by the foreigner's round stones and red hats. But the boy sees the greedy look of the Europeans and the serpent smile of their teeth.The tragic story captures a perspective of history that is only slowly emerging into the mainstream, that of the Native American's opinion of Columbus. Even though most of us have recognized that Columbus and the other "explorers" were wrong in their actions, I think that most people still view the Native Americans as the foreigners. Yolen does an excellent job in portraying the Europeans as the strange ones, with odd characteristics and behaviors. I strive to be open to other cultures and beliefs, and this book reminded me of my own biases, and the need to look through other eyes once in a while. Also, historical violence and the importance of perspective are lessons that we all need to be reminded of. In addition to all these values of the book, Yolen again writes with poetic skill, capturing the voice of this precocious young Taino child and the sorrow of his collapsing world.
jrozean0128 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Encounter is a book about Columbus landing in San Salvador Oct. 12, 1492 told from the perspective of a young Taino boy. The Taino were the tribe of American Indians who live on the island before the coming of the Europeans to the Americas. The story begins with a bad dream the boy had about the coming invasion. He begs his elders to not welcome the Europeans. We all know how this story ends. By 1548 only a handful (500) of the islands original inhabitants remained, compared to the 300,000 that were there at the time of Columbus¿ arrival. The tale ends with the young boy as an old man who looks at how his island and his people have been changed forever.This book moved me quite impressively. I have heard this story before many times, but in most cases it is told from the perspective of the Europeans and the so called ¿progress¿ made in the development of the American land. It is an interesting perspective. Columbus and his entourage are not viewed as heroes. They are invaders and occupiers who wiped out an entire race of people.This book can be used while teaching a social studies lesson on the European explorers of Columbus time. I think this point of view is one that is too often overlooked in today¿s schools. I would also have the students do an arts and craft project, where the students would use beads and string to make necklaces and other jewelry like the Taino people are wearing in the pictures from the book.
justinscott66 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Finally, I have found a childrens book that provides a different perspective to Columbus' "discovery." Partnered with the David Shannon's incredible illustrations, Yolen tells a story of European savagery through the eyes of a child. "Encounter" is a perfect companion to virtually any literature teachers traditionally use around Thanksgiving. Howard Zinn would be proud.
Andreawallin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reaction: Shannon impressively moved the story along and built on the changing tone of the story with his dark illustrations, gestures and expressions. Yolen¿s written story was full of emotion and had enough detail for the reader/viewer to gain a better understanding of this historical time period. This would be a great discussion starter for a time in history we know little about as most of the information is from Columbus¿ point of view.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NahvilleReader More than 1 year ago
The story is great for teaching point of view and the coming of explorers to North America. I use this book every year in my social studies unit. The illustrations are beautiful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am appalled at the review that said children under 4th grade should not read this book because they wouldn't understand the meaning and the pictures are dark and disturbing. It's that mentality that prevents children from experiencing good literature. I find this book a wonderful way to discuss with children different perspectives of who Christopher Columbus is. I am all about educating my children, I don't withhold information or "sugar coat" things. Maybe that is why my second grade son is an advanced thinker for his age. He understands that the world isn't always so nice and you know what? He accepts it and thinks of ways to solve society's problems, instead of covering his ears and hiding from them. We need children to be aware of issues like this, because it happens all over the world and hopefully they will make a difference when they become adults.
Sugarlump More than 1 year ago
A Taino Indian boy on the island of San Salvador wakes up from a very frightening dream. In it he sees three enormous, sharp-toothed, seabirds. Once awake the boy goes down to the beach and there, just offshore are three enormous sailing ships disgorging boats and men onto the beach. The chief of the people is ready to welcome the strangers with gifts and food. The boy tries to convince him not to welcome the strange-looking men. He is sure they mean him and his people harm. The boy is dismissed as a child who has bad dreams and the people welcome and feast the strange bird-people. For a short time during the feast the boy forgets his fears, but then he watches the strangers closely and notices their interest in his people's gold jewelry. The greed he sees in their eyes reminds him of his dream and he returns to trying to warn his people. No one will listen to the boy. The adults are fascinated by the stranger's fine clothes and weapons. When the bird-people leave they take gold and a few young men, including the boy, with them. After some days aboard their ship he slips into the water and returns to his people where he continues to warn against the bird-people. Finally, we see the boy as an old man still sitting on the beach, but his people are dying and their land has been taken from them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a literature teacher, I highly recommmend this book to students fourth-seventh grade. The illustrations are are a feast for thought, showing how sea travel affected the sailors emotionally and physically, as well as the loss felt by the Taino boy. Very well done! Refreshingly unique, as it is written from the boy's point of view. Jane Yolen's thought provoking book is definitely a must read aloud book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was required to read this book for my emergent literacy class. I think as far as enlightening people to some things that actually happned when Columbus arrives it is a great book. However, I don't think that children under 4th grade should be reading this book. Most children will not be able to understand the meaning the the words and the pictures are very dark and at times may be disturbing.