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Authors: Lois Lenski

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Indian Captive

BOOK: Indian Captive
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INDIAN CAPTIVE:
THE STORY OF MARY JEMISON
LOIS LENSKI

For

R.W.G. Vail

CONTENTS

Excerpt from
Journey Into Childhood
, an Autobiography by Lois Lenski

INTRODUCTION

FOREWARD

1 COME WHAT MAY

2 THE LONG JOURNEY

3 FORT DUQUESNE

4 SENECA TOWN

5 LOST IN SORROW

6 A SINGING BIRD

7 SLOW WEAVING

8 A SECOND CAPTIVITY

9 BY THE FALLING WATERS

10 OLD FALLENASH

11 RUNNING DEER

12 PORCUPINE QUILLS

13 WILLING SACRIFICE

14 A NEW COOKING POT

15 THE RATTLESNAKE

16 BORN OF A LONG RIPENING

A Biography of Lois Lenski

Excerpt from
Journey Into Childhood
, an Autobiography by Lois Lenski

T
HE BIG EVENT OF THE
1940s was the award of the Newbery Medal to
Strawberry Girl
in 1946. No one was more astonished than I to receive it. Had it been given to my book
Indian Captive, the Story of Mary Jemison
, which I considered my major and most scholarly work, I would not have been surprised. I had envisioned a series of Regional books, for I knew there were many regions little known and neglected in children’s books. The series was barely started, and I had already daringly broken down a few unwritten taboos, I had written more plainly and realistically than other children’s authors, I had taken my material and my characters direct from real life instead of from the imagination, and my Regionals were not yet entirely accepted or approved. I was an innovator and a pioneer in a new direction, and I knew I had a long and difficult task ahead to earn the acceptance which I was not expecting so soon. But the award focused national attention on
Strawberry Girl
and the books to follow, so I was very grateful.

The convention of the American Library Association was held at Buffalo that year, and at various meetings and receptions, I received invitations from librarians to go to many parts of the country—Seattle, Utah, California, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Minnesota—to write about their region. Afterwards, the award brought much publicity, including requests for personal interviews and radio appearances, for personal appearances at libraries and schools, most of which I was unable to accept. Those that I did accept were strenuous and wearing, and I was glad when the flurry subsided, and I could retire to private life again.

An entire book could be written about my experiences in other regions during the 1950s—in San Angelo, Texas, for
Texas Tomboy
, in Perry, Oklahoma, for
Boom Town Boy
, in McLaughlin, South Dakota, for
Prairie School
, in Remsen, Iowa, for
Corn Farm Boy
, and other places. The list goes on and on, always a new environment and way of life to be studied, and always good people who shared the intimacy of their lives with me, each region more exciting and stimulating than the last, each region calling for one’s deepest powers of observation, understanding, and compassion.

As soon as I return from a region, I have a big job to do. I have to copy all the notes I have taken, classifying them under various headings, making them readily and quickly accessible. Then I make an outline for my story, listing the various incidents I wish to include under the different chapter headings. I write my text in longhand first, and often revise it in longhand, then revise again as I type it. (The subject has, of course, been approved by the editor in advance.) I send the typed manuscript in, to be read and approved, copyedited (improving or disapproving of my punctuation!) and sent to the printer to be set into type. If any changes are suggested by the editor, the manuscript or portions of it may be returned to me for this purpose. If any changes in format are contemplated, I am always consulted. For many years, with Lippincott, I worked directly with the head of the manufacturing department in planning all details of type and format. It was in this way that a beautiful format was devised for the Regionals.

BOOK: Indian Captive
5.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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