Roger DeBlanck's Reviews > The Birchbark House

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich
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's review
Feb 01, 12

bookshelves: juvenile-literature

Erdrich captures in rich detail “the physical environment, patterns of daily living, and spirit of the times” of Native American culture. Through her well-developed characters, a young audience can connect with the past through the eyes and experiences of the Ojiwba tribe. In telling this story, Erdrich’s research also traces her family’s past and brings it accurately to life in heartrending fashion. With fine prose and dynamic characters, Erdrich shows how the Native Americans understand and believe in the strong triumvirate connection amongst the dream world, spirits in nature, and human survival. The main character, Omakayas, hears voices in nature as she learns about medicines and how to become a healer in the circle of life. But also Erdrich explains through her characters how they always show a great reverence to nature by giving blessings and offerings to the waters, forests, and foods. Full of wisdom and insight, The Birchbark House is an excellent piece of historical fiction for young readers to connect with the past.

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