Thursday, January 1, 2009

Author Review: Robert Hofsinde (Gray-Wolf)


Robert Hofsinde (Huff sin duh)(December 10, 1902 - 1973) was born in Denmark, where he received his formal education including six year of art training. He came to the United States in 1922. His first job was creating scientific drawings for the Minnesota Academy of Science.

While trapping there one winter he found a young Indian boy who had fallen into a pit and badly broken his leg. Mr. Hofsinde rescued him, set his broken leg, and pulled him on a sled back to the Ojibwa village. This began a very special relationship between the man and the boy and Mr. Hofsinde was adopted into the tribe and given the name "Gray-Wolf." His wife was later renamed "Morning Star." He became fasinated with the Indian culture and would return often to sketch the people. He ended up living with them for more than three years and later visited other tribes in a "research trip" that lasted nearly 16 years. While researching he would earn his living in lumber camps, farms, and ranches.

This love for the Native American cultures brought Mr. Hofsinde to write articles for magazines, including one in Canada and one in Holland, a radio program, and later a series of books published by Morrow Junior Books. His first book was The Indian's Secret World.
Where Sonia Bleeker's books focus on a tribe, Robert Hofsinde's books focus on a subject, discussing how tribes' methods differed. Hofsinde also illustrated them.
These books are short (under 100 pages) with large print and lots of drawings and detailed diagrams of animals and items the Indians made. Ideal for 3rd-4th grade readers. The Indian's Secret World is also the only one I've seen the full-color illustrations in. The others are all black & white. My oldest daughter was in an Indian "phase" for several years. Sonia Bleeker is her favorite Indian author, but these come in close!

"In all of his books, Robert Hofsinde, who knows the customs of Indian tribes intimately, selects a specific area of Indian culture, investigates it thoroughly and presents his findings simply and well. His books, short, easy, informative, with his own clear drawings, are everywhere popular with children."
--- N. Y. Herald Tribune
List of titles by Robert Hofsinde:

The Indian and His Horse
The Indian and the Buffalo
Indian Arts
Indian Beadwork
Indian Costumes
Indian Fishing and Camping
Indian Games and Crafts
Indian Hunting
The Indian Medicine Man
Indian Music Makers
Indian Picture Writing
Indian Sign Language
Indian Warriors and Their Weapons
The Indian's Secret World
Indians at Home
Indians on the Move

These are recommended for reading in the TruthQuest Guides to History.
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