Vanguard Spotlight Book of the Month: May 2021

Monthly Reads from ASU-Beebe Students, Faculty and Staff.

ASU-Beebe Employee Favorites

Each month Abington Library will feature a favorite book from a faculty, staff member, or student. They will give a brief synopsis of their chosen book.

Featured ASU-Beebe Faculty Member: Judy Kirk

Photo of Judy Kirk

About Judy

Judy Kirk is Assistant Professor of Mathematics at ASU-Beebe.

About the Book

During the pandemic I began using Overdrive to check out eBooks from our library. I hope you know about this wonderful convenience! I am always looking for a good book to read and often look for award winners. Laughing Boy is a novel I think you might enjoy as much as I did. Laughing Boy is a 1929 novel by Oliver La Farge about the struggles of the Navajo in the Southwestern United States to reconcile their culture with that of the United States. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1930.

In the novel, Laughing Boy is a model member of his tribe, raised in old traditions, skilled in silverwork, and known for racing wild horses. At a ceremonial dance, Laughing Boy meets a beautiful but elusive “American” educated Navajo known as Slim Girl. Laughing Boy can think of nothing but a life with Slim Girl and Slim Girl sees in Laughing Boy a way to rejoin Navajo life. Despite the warnings of his family, Laughing Boy marries Slim Girl and they settle away from traditional villages. Back at Slim Girl’s home in an American town, she works to learn the Navajo ways, hoping that one day she will be accepted among the Navajo. Laughing Boy tries to understand Slim Girl and life away from his people but longs for the time when they can return to the Navajo. Theirs is a beautiful story of love, honor, hope, and heritage.

This novel offers a rare glimpse into the Navajo lifestyle and territory. It is compelling in its strength and simplicity. It sparked interest in me to learn more about the Navajo and other tribal groups in the United States today.

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