Verna Clinton is Naakaii Dine’ é (Moving About) born for Mą’ii Deeshgiizhnii (Coyote Pass) from Star Mountain. She is the author and illustrator of Merry Késhmish Naaltsoos Naasch’ąą’, a Christmas coloring book, and the illustrator of a Halloween coloring book Nichǫíjí Baahoneeni Binaaltsoos Naach’ąą’. She collaborated with Shirley Begay, Clifford Beck, and Fred Bia to revise Kinaaldá A Navajo Puberty Ceremony. She is the illustrator of Stories of Navajo Life and Hooghan Bahane’, a book which describes types of traditional Navajo homes and their contents, and of Deezba and Chee, the story of two Navajo children. She also illustrated Diné Bizaad Bohoo’ aah’, a Navajo literacy text, and K’e Bina Niltin, a text for teaching community relations and kinship. She has published two volumes in Navajo and English of an oral history of Teesto. She is the illustrator of two bilingual children’s books Day and Night, Turkey and Giant and the author and illustrator of Ashkii’s Journey.
Day and Night – Illustrator
In this traditional Navajo/English folktale, the animals of the day and the animals of the night gather to play the first shoe game. The outcome of this game will determine the length of the day and the night.
“They put moccasins in a row. One side would hide a yucca ball in the toe of one of the moccasins. The other side would guess which moccasin had the ball in it.”
The game lasts many hours, and even Giant, who is a good guesser, is unable to find the ball.
Turkey and Giant – Illustrator
When Turkey goes to the lake for a drink, she is captured by Gray Giant and carried to the top of a high cliff. Turkey’s life is in peril and it appears she has no chance of escape … unless the horned toad she meets truly knows the one thing Gray Giant fears.
Ashkii’s Journey – Author and Illustrator
A twelve-year-old orphan with faraway friends and unkind relatives, Ashkii must depend upon himself for survival. Though Ashkii provides food for his aunt and cousins, his cruel aunt rewards him for his work with ridicule and scraps from the hunt.
To survive, Ashkii remembers the stories his grandfather had told him about the years of hardship at Fort Sumner. “A small cup of grease soup was all we were given for food. When the soldiers ate, we had a chance to repair our shoes, gather ‘azhíí: juniper bark to place inside our moccasins to cushion our feet. By the time we arrived at Hwééldi, our moccasins were tattered and in need of repair.”
These memories provide the strength and courage Ashkii needs for his journey into manhood.