Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT
Jodi Lea Stewart
Fiction, Contemporary, Action and Adventure, Mystery, Teen and Young Adult
September 16, 2021
Silki Rose Begay, a young Navajo teenager, thought she'd made up Wol-la-chee, the Ancient Ant Man, when she was a kid drumming up crazy adventures to have on horseback with her best friend Birdie. When Wol-la-chee shrieks into her life one summer day on Concho Mountain, everything changes, including Birdie, who distances herself more after each mysterious event that happens that summer.
With her family constantly pushing her toward more responsibility and respect for her tribe's heritage, as well as Birdie telling her she has her real and unreal all mixed up, the pressure mounts for Silki to face her destiny and confront Wol-la-chee. If she does her part, will He go back where he came from, will Birdie finally believe, and can Silki handle the whole Ancient World by herself?
Woven with Navajo language, tradition, and lore, this lively first book in a three-book series combines mystery, friendship, adventure, horses, and Navajo culture, along with a surprise ending, to create a surprisingly good time that will leave everyone from the adult reader to the tween reader wanting more.
For teenager SILKI ROSE BEGAY, the cord between her previously carefree childhood on the outskirts of the town of Mesa Redondo in the Navajo Nation and the pressures of approaching adulthood is suddenly tightening around her neck like a noose. Her professor mother’s educational projects never end, and Silki feels more and more like a test rat for her and her mother’s colleagues. Now, they want her to spend a whole month of her summer in the high school library painstakingly working through their new Diné language program, Diné Bizaad Ya’at’eeh?
If that isn’t bad enough, Silki thinks her lifelong best friend BIRDIE must have had her brain surgically replaced with a volleyball… else how can she give up her horse TITO and the girls’ wild horseback antics for a stupid game like volleyball? Since they were in cradleboards, Silki’s imaginative ideas have been tons of fun for them, but these days, those ideas only make Birdie mad as she finds more reasons not to spend time with Silki. GRANDMOTHER keeps pressuring Silki to dig deeper into their cultural traditions, and NICK, her older brother, arrives on leave from the Marines only to be called back within a few days. It’s enough to make Silki jump on her horse SMILES and head to Concho Mountain for a breather.
Lonesome for her best friend, but still enjoying the breathtaking scenery, she visits the giant anthill beside Red Rocks to confiscate a few tiny arrowheads and bead fragments the ants have gathered in their labors. Later, while on Weaver Rock, her frybread is an inch from her lips when a feathered, shrieking something leaps from a rocky outcrop and crashes through the brush up the mountain. Did the Ancient Ant Man, whom she and Birdie call Wol-la-chee, come to punish the girls for “stealing” sacred artifacts from the bustling anthill? Silki invented that character several summers ago, so how did he come to life? How will she ever explain what happened to Birdie when she has lately been accusing her of getting her real and unreal mixed up?
The Wol-la-chee sighting propels Silki into a summer mystery in which nothing is as it seems. The pressure increases with each unexplainable event until Silki decides she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands and confront the Ancient herself.
That’s when the real danger begins…