Healer of the Water Monster
Healer of the Water Monster

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Annotation: Brian Young's powerful debut novel tells of a seemingly ordinary Navajo boy who must save the life of a Water Monster--a... more
Catalog Number: #306203
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
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Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Pages: 362 pages
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 0-06-299040-3 Perma-Bound: 0-8000-0587-2
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-06-299040-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-8000-0587-0
Dewey: Fic
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Young's compelling debut adds to the ranks of HarperCollins' new Heartdrum imprint, which focuses on Native creators and their stories. Here Nathan, a seemingly average Navajo boy, is dreading a "boring" summer with his nali, or grandmother. Her mobile home is cramped, and there's no electricity or phone service, but when her stories are brought to life after he comes across an ailing Water Monster in the desert esh out of the Navajo Creation Story than must figure out how best to aid the Holy Being. With the help of other Holy Beings, he embarks on a journey to protect his new companion, while also trying to help his troubled uncle Jet at home, who is suffering from his own difficult problems. As the title suggests, Nathan must help heal those he loves, and Young's narrative weaves traditional folklore, language, and mythos with modern emotion to craft a poignant tale of family, friendship, and protecting what you love most.
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Nathan, a young Navajo boy from Phoenix, Arizona, goes on an epic hero’s journey.On the surface, 11-year-old Nathan is like many other boys. His parents are divorced, and he’s a little upset with his father. His paternal grandmother, Nali, is supportive, and he’s eager to spend the summer with her on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, working on his science fair project. Nathan moves into her rural home, expecting a quiet summer. Instead, he has the adventure of a lifetime when he discovers something is eating Nali’s heirloom seeds. Wandering into the desert, he encounters Pond, an ailing water monster. Adults cannot see Holy Beings from the creation stories, but as a child, Nathan can; with the help of a communication stone, he enters a world of Navajo cosmology. He brings a message to his grandmother about the Enemy Way and helps his Uncle Jet, a traumatized Marine veteran skeptical about his family’s traditional ways, who is haunted by the shadow voice of an Ash Being. Healing—for the earth, the water monster, and Uncle Jet—is on the line as Nathan travels to the Third World to meet the most sacred Holy Being of all. The deeply grounded and original perspective of this story brings readers into both the worlds of Navajo blessing songs, rain songs, and traditional healing and everyday family relationships.Hands readers a meaningful new take on family love. (glossary, author’s note) (Fiction. 10-14)
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ALA Booklist (4/1/21)
Reading Level: 4.0
Interest Level: 4-7

Brian Young's powerful debut novel tells of a seemingly ordinary Navajo boy who must save the life of a Water Monster--and comes to realize he's a hero at heart. When Nathan goes to visit his grandma, Nali, at her mobile summer home on the Navajo reservation, he knows he's in for a pretty uneventful summer, with no electricity or cell service. Still, he loves spending time with Nali and with his uncle Jet, though it's clear when Jet arrives that he brings his problems with him. One night, while lost in the nearby desert, Nathan finds someone extraordinary: a Holy Being from the Navajo Creation Story--a Water Monster--in need of help. Now Nathan must summon all his courage to save his new friend. With the help of other Navajo Holy Beings, Nathan is determined to save the Water Monster, and to support Uncle Jet in healing from his own pain. The Heartdrum imprint centers a wide range of intertribal voices, visions, and stories while welcoming all young readers, with an emphasis on the present and future of Indian Country and on the strength of young Native heroes. In partnership with We Need Diverse Books.

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