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Unbroken Spirit
by Gilbert John
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Publisher's Note
Amador Publishers, LLC publishes trade paperback books, both fiction and non-fiction, we are not an academic press. Because Unbroken Spirit touches on so many timely issues for young adult and adult readers, we are preparing Classroom and Reading Group Discussion and Study Questions that can be tailored to specific group interests. A sampling of this material is provided here. Please check back for expanded, downloadable documents. My heartfelt thanks to Editorial Assistant, Sinead Kelley for her work on this project. We welcome feedback on the book itself and on these materials. Group discounts on Unbroken Spirit are available for schools and book clubs. Write to:


Why use Gilbert John's Unbroken Spirit in the classroom?
    Born in 1957, Gilbert John spent his youth in a remote corner of northwest New Mexico on the rugged Navajo Reservation. His traditional upbringing, childhood responsibilities and adventures, and Indian Boarding School education will be fascinating and exotic to most students today. Yet his inner struggles and various social conflicts will be familiar, as will the pressures and circumstances that lead up to Gilbert's being cajoled into getting into a vehicle with two intoxicated older boys. The outcome, a horrific accident that leaves Gilbert with an irreparable spinal cord injury, is truly a cautionary tale worth telling. But it's Gilbert's resilience and perseverance that set this story apart.
    At age 17, Gilbert's life begins anew in "the white man's world" of Western medicine. Yet he is still that rambunctious "stubborn Indian" at heart. An entirely new and equally surprising series of adventures ensues, frequently interrupted by practical setbacks and medical interventions. When Gilbert ultimately returns to his family on the Navajo reservation, he brings with him a broadened life view and a university education obtained against all odds. On his own initiative he battles for the assistance and technology he needs to write his book and interact with the world, and then he sets to work advocating for all those with disabilities living on tribal lands.
    Here is the story of a young person's struggles, told with wry honesty, not trying to have all the answers or gloss over the rough spots, that repeatedly invites us to step into someone else's shoes and ask ourselves, "What if that were me? What would I do?" The book can be used as a launching point for studies in Native American history and culture, medical science and attitudes toward disability, and politics and social reform. Threaded throughout is the author's desire to learn and his aspirations for higher education, making it an ideal selection for any high school classroom.
Continue to sample subjects and questions.

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