Mysterious Bones: The Story of Kennewick Man
Illustrated by Emma Stevenson
Ages 10 and up
Golden Kite Honor Book
Children’s Book Council / National Science Teachers Association Notable Trade Book
Washington State Book Award finalist
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
This carefully researched, gracefully written, attractively formatted book explores the discovery of the 9000-year-old Paleoindian whose nearly complete skeletal remains caused an uproar in both scientific and Native American circles. Accompanied by superb gouache paintings done in warm ambers and golds with accents of black, the lucid text recounts the struggle of scientists to handle the bones and run specific DNA and carbon-dating experiments on them, all the while facing the outrage of Native American tribal groups envisioning another exploitation of ancestral remains. Lawsuits were set in motion under the auspices of the Native American Graves Protection and Reparation Act (NAGPRA), and the opposing sides battled for years before the scientists were given a moderate go-ahead to approach the bones in a monitored, respectful manner. Kirkpatrick’s measured tones record the early findings preceding the lawsuits and speculate on what the recent testing might reveal, also presenting data from other Paleoindian discoveries. Stevenson’s carefully detailed drawings echo the warmth of the dust jacket and keep perfect step with the informative pattern. Pair this title with Patricia Lauber’s Who Came First?: New Clues to Prehistoric Americans (National Geographic, 2003) to fuel fascinating discussions on the prehistoric settlement of the Americas. A sterling work of scholarly quality. —Patricia Manning (formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY), Starred Review, School Library Journal.