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The Education of Little Tree

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  11,737 Ratings  ·  1,359 Reviews
The Education of Little Tree tells of a boy orphaned very young, who is adopted by his Cherokee grandmother and half-Cherokee grandfather in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee during the Great Depression. ?Little Tree? as his grandparents call him is shown how to hunt and survive in the mountains, to respect nature in the Cherokee Way, taking only what is needed, leavi ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published August 15th 2001 by University of New Mexico Press (first published 1976)
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Genova Vader I thought it was a memoir when I read it for a children's lit class in college. it became my favorite book and then most hated author, after the…moreI thought it was a memoir when I read it for a children's lit class in college. it became my favorite book and then most hated author, after the slow-burn of realizing the racism was supported, not suffered. Should we judge a book for its beauty, separating it from its author? It is only in NOT reconciling the two that I can say that I love this book and that it had a profound impact on me, especially when it comes to Christmas trees. (less)
Joan Broadfield Hmmm... As I read it, I became suspicious. It is possible that some will not see an underlying perspective but I'd want some folks of the community he…moreHmmm... As I read it, I became suspicious. It is possible that some will not see an underlying perspective but I'd want some folks of the community he was 'imagining' before I'd recommend it as a 'good read' that has 'no hint' of baggage.

The 'mental models' we absorb about those different from us can put spins of positive or negative aspects that do not reflect the reality of experience, but simply imagination. If someone reads this as a book about a native american, they are not getting that perspective in fact.(less)

Community Reviews

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Diane S ☔
May 28, 2016 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
Within the first three pages I fell in love with our four year old narrator, whose grandfather called Little Tree. His relationships with his grandparents reminded me so much of mine, it was hard not to identify with that even though his Cherokee culture was of course different. Still, the love, the knowledge, the ways shown to live were in many ways, different but the same. So Little Tree learns from his grandparents the way of the Indian and how to navigate the world of the white man. Loved wa ...more
J.G. Keely
The closest this book gets to touching nature is the sweet sappiness of the story. Though the author put the story forward as true, he was not actually a Native, but a racist con-man who fought to keep segregation and was a member of the KKK.

But this revelation shouldn't be that surprising, since the book is hardly insightful or sensitive in its views. Carter's characters are old, romanticized cliches of the colonial 'Noble Savage'--poor Indians beset by the white man's greed trying to eke a pe
Dec 09, 2009 Lawyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in how to live. And why.
Recommended to Lawyer by: My well read friend, Lawyer Ritchie Tipton
The Education of Little Tree: Which is Right

The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter was chosen as the Pre-1980 Group Read by members of On the Southern Literary Trail for June, 2016. Special thanks to Trail Member Tina for nominating this work.

 photo Little Tree First Edition_zpsslx108u8.jpg
The Education of Little Tree, First Edition, Delacorte Press, New York, New York, 1976

 photo Forrest Carter_zpsdl8rynkw.jpg
Forrest Carter, 1975

This is my third read of this book. It means much to me. For it speaks of the love shared by a young boy and his grandparents. Orphan
Leah Higginbotham
Jun 22, 2008 Leah Higginbotham rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!
Recommended to Leah by: Michelle (mother in law)
*Note: there is a lot of controversy and here say about the author of this book. Forget about it and enjoy this book with an innocent mind!

The Education of Little Tree follows a young boy as he follows his Grandpa, learning and loving as he goes. From plowing to whiskey making, it divinely illustrates the power of self. Regardless of external influences, industry, growth, abundance, and love can be grown and cultivated.

This book was so deep and enriching on so many levels. It made me look at my
Aug 14, 2007 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This is one of my favorite books of all time. It's so much more than how you would describe it, so much more than words like story about a boy and his grandparents living in the South describe. The words have such power. They are so vivid; they recreate a world, a picture of a different time and place that is gone from us now. Because of their power, I can so perfectly imagine those hills, that place, and those people in my mind. Every time I read this book, I feel as I am there with them, livin ...more
Jan 19, 2008 wheels added it
embarrassing. after caty informed me, i googled the author and learned that the original edition was published as an autobiography, though carter is not of native american heritage, was a leader in the klu klux klan, and active as a segregtionist. wow, huh? if you ever want a defintion of appropriation and cultural theft, here's an exemplary one. (my tattered copy was dubbed as an autobiography.)
Aslı Duman
Feb 05, 2017 Aslı Duman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
bir çocuğun çok içten ve saf dünyası ... Küçük Ağaç'ın hikayesi kesinlikle okunmalı ...
Dec 27, 2008 Lynn rated it really liked it
I finished this book last weekend. I'd put it up there with The Alchemist and To Kill a Mockingbird, it was that powerful. This is a work of fiction (despite the intro, it is not really an autobiography) about a 5 year old Cheerokee boy who is raised by his grandparents, Cheerokee hill people, after the death of his parents. It is set in depression-era Tennessee. The story is told in vignettes; the chapters in chronological order. It was a quick read, just over 200 pages, with some mild language ...more
Oct 19, 2007 Tim rated it it was amazing
Interesting book, especially in the fact that the writer was also a speech writer for George Wallace, infamous Southern biggot and racist. Maybe that shows Carters true talent then, the ability to switch between such different literary voices...the question is, which voice is his? ...more
Jun 21, 2007 Sierra rated it liked it
I got out of college without reading a heck of a lot of classic literature, American or otherwise. Now I'm trying to make up for lost time. I picked up The Education of Little Tree because there happened to be a copy here at my sister's house. I vaguely remembered there being some controversy á la Rigoberta Menchú or Nick Frey. The reissue I have from 1999 has "AMERICAN INDIANS/FICTION" on the back cover, but the introduction calls it "[Forrest Carter's] autobiographical remembrances of life wit ...more
Scott Wojtalik-courter
Jun 19, 2013 Scott Wojtalik-courter rated it did not like it
I remembered enjoying this book when i read it about fifteen years ago. I stuck in on my list of 'have-reads' and gave it high marks. Then I read a little bit about this author. I just am flummoxed, though I shouldn't be; the levels to which people will stoop. Well, you can't deny he was a decent teller of tales, or lies, as Mark Twain might have said. A klansman who formed his own chapter, took part in lynchings, was a political writer who wrote George Wallace's infamous line, 'segregation now, ...more
Dec 16, 2008 Sheyla rated it it was amazing
Just finished this and I loved it. I will have to add this one to my list of Favorites. All told from the mouth of a 5 year old... Maybe that's why I was so entertained. I'm surrounded by kids all the time anyway.

The wisdom and utter innocence of Little tree was so refreshing I felt like I was being schooled by a 5 year old. I loved learning about all the Indian traditions.
Toward the end when he had to leave, I was so sad I ached for Little tree and his Grandparents. I fell in love with them an
Oct 13, 2015 Arzu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite, roman
kötü çeviriye rağmen kitabı çok sevmeniz mümkünden de öte..
okuma listenize ekleyin diyorum, neden mi? çünkü "iyi bir şeyle karşılaştığın zaman yapman gereken ilk şey bulabildiğin insanla onu paylaşmaktır."
Feb 25, 2009 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2009
This is the story of Little Tree, a five-year-old boy who is brought up by his Cherokee grandparents after his mother dies. Although the introduction claims it's an autobiographical reminiscence, it is in fact fiction. Moreover, the author is not Cherokee; at one point he was apparently a member of extreme racist groups in the USA.

Nevertheless, it's a very well-written book. I gather that some of the details of Little Tree's life and Cherokee customs are not based on reality, but pure fiction;
Paul Nash
Jun 08, 2016 Paul Nash rated it it was amazing
I loved this book when I was a lot younger!

I'm going to have to revisit some of the books I really liked when I was a kid/YA to see how I feel about them now, to see how they hold up. Or should I just leave them be and preserve the love I had for them. It would be so disappointing to read something I loved as a kid/YA & then find it not to my liking or even think to myself, "why did I like this so much?"... I would hate for that to happen.

Hmmm...what to do, what to do!
What would you do?
"Grandpa said he had many's the time seen that same kind of thing, feelings taking over sense, make as big a fools out of people as it had ol' Rippitt. Which I reckon is so." I think this quote sums up this entire novel. People letting their feelings take over their common sense where others are concerned.

This is a novel about prejudice and discrimination against the Indian, the Jew, the White Man, the Politician, the Christian, the Poor, the Wealthy, the Sinner, the Saint, the Educated and the
Sarah Anne
This was quite an emotional roller coaster. Little Tree sees everything with such innocence that the things he sees - racism and cruelty - are all the more heartbreaking. His relationship with his grandparents is quite deep and profound. I really loved this.
Τα παρακάτω μπορεί να συμβούν μόνο στην Αμερική!
Πήρα στα χέρια μου "την εκπαίδευση του Μικρού Δέντρου" με ένθερμες συστάσεις για ένα όμορφο και τρυφερό βιβλίο.
Ανύποπτη για την προϊστορία του βιβλίου, το διάβασα με ανάμικτα συναισθήματα, κυρίως στενάχωρα.
Το Μικρό Δέντρο, είναι ένα αγοράκι 5 ετών, που μένει ορφανό και πάει να μείνει με τον παππού και τη γιαγιά, που είναι ινδιάνοι Τσεροκί. Το Μικρό Δέντρο αφηγείται τη ζωή του τόσο πειστικά που ο αναγνώστης νομίζει ότι διαβάζει ημερολόγιο. Τα συνα
Vannessa Anderson
Dec 31, 2012 Vannessa Anderson rated it it was amazing
The Education of Little Tree touched me on every emotional level!

Little Tree, at age four, went to live with his grandparents after the death of his mom; only a year earlier he’d lost his dad. Little Tree’s grandparents, in their seventies, knew they probably only had a few years to teach Little Tree everything he needed to know to survive on his own started teaching him life’s skills upon their arrival to bring him home to live with them. The story took place in the Appalachian mountains of Ten
This is an excellent story, and I highly recommend it if only for the humor (but there is a lot more to recommend than that). But oh, the questions it raises. The author, Forrest Carter, is widely presumed to be Asa Earl Carter, a Klansman and leader of the Alabama White Citizen Council and the speechwriter for George Wallace who wrote the “segregation now, segregation forever” speech. So how does that reflect on this book that is, if perhaps naive and romantic, certainly not racist? Can we acce ...more
Jun 08, 2011 Natalie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature-books
A dear new soul recommended me this novel, and am I so GLAD.

It's like Huckleberry Finn meets Laura Ingalls Wilder with Native American culture and folklore thrown in.

Written from the perspective of a little boy (similar to Huck Finn) who's orphaned when his parents die, he's adopted by his grandparents. You learn the Cherokee way of looking at the land, the environment and nature. The intersting thing, is that most novels of this sort take place during the "Wild West" migration period, but this
Barb Graf
Jul 28, 2011 Barb Graf rated it it was amazing
I first heard of this book on an Oprah show probably in the mid 1990's; she said such high praise of it. (I understand later she "took it off" her book shelf due to the controversy around the author's racism). I am not in any way supportive of racism; but this book appears to be something very good that the author did and that Oprah had recognized. That is why I first read it and I have passed it on to many people cause I liked it so much. It did seem to start a bit slow for me the first time I ...more
David Hilton
Sep 02, 2013 David Hilton rated it it was amazing

This is a beautiful little book that follows the story of 5 year old orphan Little Tree who is taken in, loved deeply, and guided thoughtfully by his grandparents in the Cherokee tradition during the Great Depression. It is a nice contrast to Sherman Alexie's "Diary of a Part Time Indian," as it show Native Americans in wholly different setting but with some of the same values.

Carter's writing is elegant in its simplicity. Little Tree's narration is believable and compelling. Each chapter is its
Jennifer Hughes
Dec 06, 2010 Jennifer Hughes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nostrano
I don't know how this has slipped under my radar for so long. Little Tree has captured my heart. This was a beautiful and poignant memoir of a Cherokee boy raised by his grandparents in the Depression. The narrator's voice as a young child was so sweet and completely believable and captivating.

I feel like saying too much would be inappropriate for a book like this, since as Little Tree says, "Granpa said if there was less words, there wouldn't be as much trouble in the world."

On L.T.'s 6th birt
Jan 15, 2017 Lora added it
Shelves: never-finished
I struggle with this. I don't know if it falls flat because it does not appeal to me or it falls flat because it feels faked and uneven or if it falls flat because I am familiar with the controversy around the author. I don't think it's the last item, though I think the prior knowledge may have tainted my read somewhat. There are just too many passages where I know I'm supposed to laugh, but the laugh doesn't work for me, or there are passages that just sound like a cracked bell or a dull flat n ...more
Dec 17, 2015 Zeren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kötü çeviriler kendilerini zor okuturlar. Bir istisna varsa o da bu kitaptır. Kalbi olan bir kitap Küçük Ağacın Eğitimi. Doğayla kopan bağlarımızı onarmak çok kolay değil. Dünyaya geldiğimiz o kadim bilgiyi toprağa gömüp üzerine onlarca "medeniyet" kuralı çok oldu. Kaybettik. Ama neyse ki hala bundan bahseden kitaplar ve insanlar var.
Sep 08, 2016 Ege rated it really liked it
Turkce cevirisi cok kotu. Kitabi elinizden birakmaniza neden olabilir. Bu yuzden mumkunse IngiliZce okumanizi tavsiye ederim
Forrest Carter weaves a story of his young childhood being raised by his Cherokee Grandparents in the Appalachian Mountains during the 1930’s depression era. Carter moves the reader in the spiritual elements of how Little Tree is taught to live with Mother Earth and see the signs that she is rebirthing, he also learns how to plant by the signs of the moon, and listen to the birds call. He also is able to speak to trees and observe Mother Nature’s cycles and all life that she holds. Little Tree a ...more
Aug 18, 2012 Molly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-and-teen
I remember my mother mentioning to me how good this book was said to be when I was a kid in Chattanooga, and then a few years later, how she mentioned the book was written by a former KKK member and was a lie. I also didn't remember this book ever coming up in discussions in creative writing classes about falsehoods and plagiarism and the like, nor do I remember it being mentioned in my American Indian classes.

I held off on reading this book, mostly because I wasn't sure what this knowledge woul
Matthew Moes
Jul 31, 2011 Matthew Moes rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Having just finished reading this beautiful story I discovered the controversy surrounding it and its author, only serving to deepen my appreciation for its significance. I found the story beautiful and spiritually moving, making note of several passages that I would like to refer back to from time to time. It is a beautiful story written on the theme of simplicity and natural living. Although it is introduced as an autobiographical account, posterity has unveiled its fictional origins. To me, t ...more
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Asa Earl "Forrest" Carter was an American political speechwriter and author. He was most notable for publishing novels and a best-selling, award-winning memoir under the name Forrest Carter, an identity as a Native American Cherokee. In 1976, following the publication success of his western The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales, The New York Times revealed Forrest Carter to be Southerner Asa Earl Carter. ...more
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“Grandma said [...] when you come on something that is good, first thing to do is share it with whoever you can find; that way, the good spreads out to where no telling it will go.” 30 likes
“You cannot know where your people are going if you don't know where your people have been.” 26 likes
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