Hardcover Price: $18.99, Paperback Price: $10.99, eBook Price: $2.99
Publisher: Can’t Put It Down Books
Genre: Young Adult/Native American fiction
Alonqua, a Lenape boy of the early 1800’s, an orphan, is sent by Mawenteh, his elderly guardian, on a journey to a sacred waterfall. This is Mawenteh’s last request, for that very night he will die. The journey takes Alonqua from the heart of a beaver lodge to the heart of a great storm, from the release of a snared otter to a bond with a mother eagle. And ultimately to an understanding of the White Man who will come to warn his village of impending destruction. Unknown to Alonqua at the beginning, the journey is a vision quest. What he learns on the way is his Spirit Name and the courage to do what is true and right for himself, for his people, and for the sacred earth.
Read Excerpt: The Cradle of Stone (1MB pdf)
What readers are saying about The Cradle of Stone
“‘The Doors,’ Jim Morrison’s ‘70s band, took its name from William Blake, the 18th century visionary—via Aldous Huxley, the 20th century author who titled one of his books “The Doors of Perception,” quoting Blake.
With ‘The Cradle of Stone,’ Jeff Pratt explodes the constraints of consumer consciousness, transporting readers into a world where nature is home, all life is related, and even rocks and waters speak to the great mystery at the heart of life.
Readers journey with the young Native American orphan, Alanqua, whose vision quest restores him. Grieving the loss of the mentor who came to him after the deaths of his parents, Alanqua draws on his spiritual heritage to make the journey through grief into the knowledge that he can never be truly alone in the world of woods and waters, but indeed is deeply connected to all life.
Following Blake, and using his years of research into the culture and history of the Lenape people of Pennsylvania, Pratt “cleanses the doors of perception” to deliver a consciousness-expanding experience.”-Beth Champagne, writer for North Country Star
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“Jeff Pratt’s novel, The Cradle of Stone, is not a crawl through some dystopian future time of fascistic corporate overlords. Quite the contrary it is a novel set in the first quarter of the 19th century in a time of a conflict of cultures, not imagined but sadly all too true.
The protagonist, Alonqua, is an orphaned Native American Lenape boy moving into adulthood. The Cradle of Stone is his coming of age story set largely in the Ohio lands where his people settled after forced westward migration. Alonqua paddles his canoe through rivers, travels the woods on foot, eats food he carries or catches, and communes with the spirits of animals, stars, and ancestors. There is plenty of the spirit world in the story, and personal uncertainty, and plenty of action too, but it takes place in this world.
The novel starts slowly and requires, at first, some effort to become accustomed to the use of Lenape words in the text. A slow pace and meditative tone is established by the reverential dialog Alonqua has with beaver (Temakwe), stone (Ahsen), and river (Sippu) among other beings. Reader forbearance pays off, though, since the words are given in context (A downed willow provided chips left behind by Temakwe, the Beaver, perfect for smoking fish), and there is a glossary and pronunciation guide at the back of the book. There is, as well, a Notes section which discusses The Lenape Way, and The Lenape Language. Concluding the pronunciation section Pratt writes: The use of Lenape words in this story is not an attempt to reanimate the language. The purpose is to raise an awareness of the richness and beauty of the Lenape culture and worldview. It is hoped in turn that this will awaken in the reader his or her own need to reconnect with this Earth.
The Prologue and Epilogue further elucidate Pratt’s admiration of the Lenape (Delaware) people, a tribe that, though scattered, moves toward reunion, and also give a brief introduction to his own place story that gave rise to the novel. Cultural appropriation could be inveighed in objection to a white man writing a Native story. If one reads the book from cover to cover and encounters the love Pratt feels for the people of his own home place this objection fades. While appropriation and diversity may be close cousins one wants to be against the former and with the later. Never in this novel does the minority person or perspective serve as a foil for a dominant main character or culture. Alonqua is always the heart of the story, and the Lenape people offer a counterpoint to a time that pulls us away from a living, breathing relationship with our true home….
This is a sound soulful story with a message of reverence for animals, ancestors, woods lore and understanding our place in the natural world, sans video games, wizards, or corrupt governments. There is self reliance, self development, and reverence for another way of looking at the world, a world where trees are trees. And trees are miracles.”-Bob Joly, St. Johnsbury Athenaeum Director