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Hidden Roots

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  238 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
"Hidden Roots" focuses on the greater impact that the
generations of Abenaki that followed had to deal with.
Readers will learn about the loss of identity, history and
culture;lack ofself worth and fear that Abenaki people
were feeling, and still feel today. Middle grade readers
love to see life as "being fair", and will totally understand
that life is not fair in this sto
Kindle Edition, 154 pages
Published (first published February 1st 2004)
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Stefanie Garcia Well, you could read this page, or you can look on the front pages of the book. Every book has its copyright info there. 2004
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Oct 12, 2011 528_Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sonny is a lonely 11-year old who lives in a not so peaceful household. He is picked last on the playground during basketball games, doesn't have many friends at school, and his father can be violent, working long hours at the paper plant in town. Sonny’s so called Uncle Louis visits often while his father is at work, showing him the wilderness and providing him with the comfort he doesn’t receive from his own father. Sonny finds solace in reading and the wonderful librarian who looks after him ...more
Hidden Roots by Joseph Bruchac is a moving story about a young, teenager named Sonny and his broken family. A secret lingers over the family and is not revealed until almost the end of the story. We know that Sonny’s father, Jake is troubled and takes his anger out on his mother. The soft, loving nature comes from Sonny’s mother and Uncle Louis. The real world teaching comes from Uncle Louis, as he tries to mold and shape Sonny into an intelligent, hard working young man with a sense of culture. ...more
Jessica Breighner
Hidden Roots
1. Brief Summary
Once upon a time and place, there were people who thought it was alright to get rid of undesirable people through sterilization. So they passed laws that made it okay to surgically fix those undesirable people so they couldn't reproduce and create more people that would be considered undesirable to those who had passed the laws.The time was 1932. The place was Vermont, in the United States of America.
Hidden Roots follows five months in the life of young Howard Camp
Scarlett Sims
This book is aimed at upper elementary or maybe low YA, which leads me to my biggest complaint about it. If it had been a book aimed at high-schoolers, I feel it could have gone into much more depth about the subject matter. However it had to be almost glossed over. The cover and title make it seem like a disturbing horror novel, but it's not.

My other complaint is kind of my own fault. Part of the book's enjoyment comes from information being slowly revealed over the course of the story. However
Published February 1st 2004 by Scholastic Press
Interest Level: 6th-8th Grade

Hidden Roots is a book that focuses on the life and treatment of Native Americans near Vermont during the 1950’s and the forced sterilization of the Native American population that occurred in the 1930’s. This story is about a boy named Sonny and his family heritage that he is largely unaware of for the majority of the book. Sonny continues to struggle with his identity, place in the community, and fractured family, thro
Oct 13, 2011 528_Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Hidden Roots”
Eleven year old Sonny lives in upstate New York with his parents. He is an outsider, who doesn't quite fit in. While Sonny's father is distant and angry, his mother and "Uncle Louis" are very loving and supportive. But Sonny's family is keeping a dark secret, one which could greatly impact Sonny and his future. A secret that is tearing his family apart.
"Hidden Roots", winner of the 2003 American Indian Youth Literature Award, is most appropriate for middle school students (grades
Mary Hoch
Oct 08, 2011 Mary Hoch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1native-american
Young Sonny struggled through childhood with an angry father, while trying to remain unnoticed at school. His loving mother and uncle, however, provide him with a solid foundation. As Sonny grows up, he discovers acceptance from his peers, while eventually learning about his family history and true Native American culture. He learns how the past has been the source of his father's anger and why his family has buried it. Over time, they bond together and begin to overcome as a family.

The author
Edwina Hall Callan
Aug 14, 2014 Edwina Hall Callan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing, 2014
A beautifully written coming-of-age story.
I enjoyed each and every page.
Bianca Rosa-Aviles
Although Sonny is uncertain why his sometimes-abusive father is so angry and what secret his mother is keeping from him, eleven-year-old Sonny knows that he is different from his classmates in their small New York town. A terrible accident costs Sonny's father part of his right hand. Sonny believes that his father loves him and his mother and so he keeps their abuse a secret from the world. They seem to all be used to secrets. He doesn’t know why his father is so intent that he doesn’t have a re ...more
Nov 05, 2015 Loraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first novel written by Joseph Bruchac that I have read. Hidden Roots is set in upper state New York during the 1950s, and is written for young people ages 9 through 12. The world is seen through eleven year old Sonny's eyes, the world of his father, prone to rages as the result of an old head injury, his mother, who takes the brunt of the rage, and Uncle Louis. This is a coming of age story,told in a taut and minimalist manner.

Sonny knows secrets swirl all around him. What he learns
Bullied by the bigger boys at school and by his dad at home, 11-year-old Sonny spends his life with his head down, trying not to be noticed. His mom taught him to sleep lightly so no one can sneak up on him. Be quiet. Don’t ask. The one bright spot in his world is his Uncle Louis who teaches Sonny how to hear the trees and hide in plain sight like the deer. But hiding doesn’t always work and sometimes secrets come knocking on your door. Can Sonny and his family survive their secrets?

This powerfu
Oct 11, 2015 Eliz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The powerful social issues dealt with in this story make it a tough read for an empathetic young reader. There is a domestic violence undertone throughout the book and only a glimpse of hope is offered at the very end that perhaps through dissipating anger true family will be discovered. At the same time, the history of Abenaki sterilization in the US and the stress on these families is a real part of American history that has been addressed superbly. Reverence and love for the beauty of nature ...more
Hidden Roots is about a young, Native American boy named Sonny growing up in the state of New York. Sonny's life is a rough one. His Native American roots make him subject to ridicule at school, his mother is abused and "not like the other mom's at school", and his father is an alcoholic who works around the clock at a paper mill. In the beginning of the story you get the sense that there is no silver lining in Sonny's life. Then the reader is introduced to Uncle Louis who we find out later is r ...more
Feb 10, 2009 Kandace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: native-american
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Britt Kitko
Summary: 11-yr-old Sonny lives with his mother and father up near the Canadian border. Theirs isn't a peaceful household, given his father Jake's sudden rages, which can turn physical in an instant. Sonny's refuge is his mother, and his uncle Louis, a quiet, wise old man who seems to always appear when Sonny and his mother need help most. Jake hates when Louis comes around, but luckily he works long hours at the nearby paper mill. Through an unexpected friendship with a new school librarian, Son ...more
Oct 07, 2009 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
1. Summary: Sonny is an eleven-year-old boy that has a lot of questions for his elders around him, but can never get any answers. He has a father that gets angry in an instant and Sonny can never be sure what might set him off. Sonny loves his Uncle Louis and always looks forward to him coming around – but he knows his father does not approve for some reason and, yet, his mother adores Uncle Louis. Sonny develops into his adolescence and slowly, but surely, learns the family secrets that were th ...more
Nov 05, 2009 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: catalog
11-yr-old Sonny lives with his mother and father up near the Canadian border. Theirs isn't a peaceful household, given his father Jake's sudden rages, which can turn physical in an instant. Sonny's refuge is his mother, and his uncle Louis, a quiet, wise old man who seems to always appear when Sonny and his mother need help most. Jake hates when Louis comes around, but luckily he works long hours at the nearby paper mill. Through an unexpected friendship with a new school librarian, Son
Oct 10, 2011 529_Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sonny is a kid who tries to be low key. He is this way because he is picked on at school and he and his mother are abused by his father. His father has violent outbursts and hits them at times. Sonny finds comfort and security from his Uncle Louis. Uncle Louis is a man who worked as a hired hand for his mother's parents when she was young. As it turns out Sonny's parents don't want people to know about their true ethnicity. As the story unfolds we find out that Uncle Louis is actually Sonny's gr ...more
CH13_Meghan Schultz
Written by Joseph Bruchac, Hidden Roots tells the story of Sonny, a young boy living in 1950s Vermont. While Howard knows he is different from others he cannot articulate those differences. Sonny’s abusive father wreaks havoc on the familial unit until Sonny’s Uncle Louis comes to stay. Through Sonny’s relationship with his uncle, Sonny is able to discover his hidden roots and better understand the differences he feels.

At first read this Hidden Roots seems to be about such topics as: physical an
Sonny is 11 years old and he has to live a life of secrets, of not asking the questions he wants to ask. They could make his father angry and when he becomes angry, he can be violent too.
But Sonny has the love of his mother and his uncle is also there when they need it most. But there are so many questions Sonny wants to ask, so many things he doesn't know about their family. Sonny often wonders if he'll ever know the source of his father's anger and why he's not allowed to talk about certain th
Ci546_tyara Simpson
As I continue reading this book, I can't help but think about the state of mind that Howard, the protagonist, must have throughout this entire experience in his childhood. Even as he tells the story from his point of view, he seems to have much more of a mature mind than that of a young person who may have had an "ideal childhood". It is as if these events brought about this sort of maturity in his character. Perhaps, it is not entirely maturity, but more of a solemn nature adapted into his per ...more
Oct 09, 2010 Lessa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting book. It was good and read quickly and represented Native Americans well. I think that the presentation of the sterilization of Native Americans was handled interestingly and although it didn't go into depth necessarily, for a children's book, this book covered a lot of serious issues including domestic violence and indigenous issues. What I found most interesting was the treatment of domestic violence. I felt that in the main text of the book (although the author condemns it ...more
I enjoyed reading the book Hidden Roots by Joseph Bruchac more for the historical background that it provided rather than the plot, which was a little slow to develop. Sonny, the book's protagonist, is coming of age in this story and beginning to realize that there is a lot he doesn't know or understand about his family. A curious boy, he notices the subtle actions of the people around him and struggles to make meaning of it all. He thinks often of the Native American people living just outside ...more
Alexandra Calaway
Nov 16, 2015 Alexandra Calaway rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-tweens
A heartfelt, if slow, story that unfortunately is soured by the erasure and easy forgiveness of a man who beats his wife and child, the abuse spanning for years. We are given to believe that the man's apology at the end of the book is somehow different than all the meaningless apologies in the previous chapters. The mother is romanticized as a strong matriarch for keeping her family together, instead of an abused victim with no where to go.
RLL 5201_Nicole Graham
Sonny, an eleven year old boy, has so many questions. What child doesn't? Unfortunately, Sonny can't ask many because of his father's explosive temper. He knows there are secrets about his family. As he uncovers these secrets, the reader is introduced to a horrific period of American and American Indian history. This is a very powerful book that lends itself to discussion about the Abenaki, how they were treated in the 1930's and beyond.
RLL520_ColeenDuPuy Dupuy
Hidden Roots is a very unique story in that the reader initially does not know the story is about a young boy with a Native American background. A significant part of the story deals with a boy growing up in a family which there appears to be abuse between the father and mother. There is also a so called "uncle," who the father does not like. I partially liked the suspense of the book, but if the purpose was to give a historical account of oppressed Native American Indians, I would have like to ...more
Feb 25, 2010 Linda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: native-american
Full of secrets and shocking twists, Hidden Roots is a story about how the conspiracy of a government destroys families and cultures. Told from the perspective of a loner named Harold whose security is shaken by the unexpected outrages of his abusive father. Luckily his father works a lot at the local factory and often when he is off at work, his Uncle Louis comes to visit. Yet when Harold begins to stand up for himself drama ensues.

As a teacher I feel that this is wonderful independent reading
This book addresses some of the most crucial issues in the Native American community in a way that upper elementary students could probably understand. My hometown is adjacent to the only Native American settlement in Iowa, and some of the Mesquakie tribe attended my public school. The issues of alcoholism, "mixed blood," and "Indian schools" that were designed to erase native culture are still majors topics on the minds of the community, and this book discusses the issues at a level appropriate ...more
Oct 30, 2012 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fictional account of growing up Indian in mid-century New England. Bruchac created the story out of the life-histories of people who lived at the time, who shared the persecution (legal and social) they endured, the challenges they faced, as well as what drew them happily into Indian life. Bruchac's story is simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful. There are shocking revelations at the end of the story that make it more appropriate for teens than preteens, although the language is not challen ...more
Howard doesn't know why his father is so angry or why his 'Uncle' isn't supposed to come around or why school kids pick on him. However, Uncle Louis seems to always find time for him teaching him ways of Indians like to be stay quiet and listen and how to pray to the morning sun. Howard fully believed that they would get in trouble if they were caught doing such actions (especially praying) since opinion of Indians was not great. (This story takes places just shortly after the French-Indian War) ...more
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Joseph Bruchac lives with his wife, Carol, in the Adirondack mountain foothills town of Greenfield Center, New York, in the same house where his maternal grandparents raised him. Much of his writing draws on that land and his Abenaki ancestry. Although his American Indian heritage is only one part of an ethnic background that includes Slovak and English blood, those Native roots are the ones by wh ...more
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