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Stone Man and the Trail of Tears

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After U.S. soldiers attack twelve-year-old Tsatsi’s Cherokee village, his family flees to the Smokey Mountains. Facing storms, flood, and hunger, they’re forced to go where Stone Man, a monstrous giant, is rumored to live. Their journey is a dangerous one. Will Tsatsi find the strength to become a Cherokee warrior? And will they ever find their family again?


Published October 8, 2019

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About the author

Charles Suddeth

8 books6 followers
Biography of Charles Suddeth

Charles Suddeth was born in Jeffersonville, Indiana. He lived near Charlestown, Indiana on a mule-powered farm, on the site of a 1790 fort built to prevent Shawnees from crossing the Ohio River. He still loves mules, but the city won’t let him keep them.
Though he is not legally Native American, he has Cherokee and Shawnee ancestors. His great-great grandfather, Bill Pennington, left his Cherokee village during the Trail of Tears and moved with his family to Charlestown, probably fording the Ohio River near the fort. On his European side, his great…great grandmother was Lady Godiva, making him a distant cousin to William Shakespeare. (she was unfairly accused of losing her clothes, but that is another story)
He went to school in Michigan, receiving a BS from Michigan State University. He has done graduate work with MSU, University of Louisville, and Spalding University in veterinary medicine and education. He has donned many hats: federal meat inspector, salesman, truck driver, teacher, and caregiver.
A widower, he lives in Louisville, Kentucky near Tom Sawyer State Park where he hikes whenever the weatherman lets him. He belongs to SCBWI (Society for Children’s Writers & Illustrators), International Thriller Writers, and Green River Writers. He hosts a monthly SCBWI Social in Louisville. When not storytelling, his interests include genetics, linguistics, and Rosicrucian studies. He writes poetry, picture books, middle reader’s books, young adult novels, and adult novels.

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Tumblr Author blog: http://7whistlepig7.tumblr.com/

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Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews
Profile Image for Charley.
201 reviews27 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
August 13, 2019
*I received a copy of this book from Dancing Lemur Press in exchange for an honest review.*

All summer I have been trying to get into Tsatsi's story, but I simply couldn't. I'm not sure if I couldn't get past the basic formatting or how simplistic the writing style is in the book. Either way, I don't see myself enjoying this book if I forced myself to keep reading. The story is one that needs to be heard, but I'm not sure this is the way.
Profile Image for Pages For Thoughts.
367 reviews27 followers
September 8, 2019
I enjoyed how the story accurately conveyed the historical attacks against the Cherokee tribes, and this book could be a useful educational tool. I also thought it was extremely important and beneficial how Stone Man and the Trail of Tears proves that not all white men were evil and discriminatory. Johnny took unfathomable risks to protect these two kids, inspiring others to do the same. The scenery was wonderful and I loved the action-packed scenes. As sad as the story was, I liked how all the characters were still hopeful and did not give up. I adored the ending and it warmed my heart! See the review here: https://pagesforthoughts.blogspot.com...
Profile Image for Stephanie.
Author 2 books43 followers
October 19, 2019
The Trail of Tears is a tragic time in history. This middle grade book tells the story of two Cherokee children whose family tries to flee to the mountains after their village is attacked. Tsatsi and his sister Sali get separated from their family and must try to survive on their own. The area is rumored to be home to Stone Man and Tsatsi and Sali are scared. When Sali falls ill and Stone Man enters their lives- they will discover if the rumors are true.

This is a story that will hopefully make students curious about The Trail of Tears and this time in history. The writing style is appropriate for kids ages 8 and up and the relationship between the siblings seemed very realistic.
Profile Image for Erin J Kahn.
108 reviews9 followers
July 5, 2019
This was such a sweet story. Tsatsi’s love for his family, concern for their safety, and desire to protect them at all costs makes this a book that will hit home for anyone who has a family, which should be just about all of us.

Besides that, it will hit home for anyone who’s ever helped or been helped by someone outside their family. Johnny Garner, a white trapper living alone in the mountains, takes it upon himself to rescue two Cherokee children and get them to safety.

Along the way *SPOILER* he risks arrest, injury, and death, and even gets shot protecting Tsatsi and Sali. Why would a lone white man risk so much to save two Cherokee kids he just met? Because he’s freaking awesome.

But Tsatsi is pretty awesome too. The kid is 12 and could probably teach a wilderness survival course that I would 100% attend. Tsatsi is the main character and narrator, and he has a nice voice and personality. He’s tough because he’s had to grow up fast, but he’s also very much a 12-year-old boy.

He’s interested in the pretty girl who helps shelter and feed the three fugitives (Tsatsi, Johnny, and Sali). And he has a soft spot for his younger siblings. He’s also terrified of monsters and can’t get the legend of the giant cannibal Stone Man out of his head.

I found this story enjoyable, educational, and inspiring. It made me want to learn more about the Trail of Tears (which I’ve read some books about in the past but not recently). It made me want to try Johnnycakes because frankly they sound amazing. It inspired me to reach out to others and help people in need, even if they’re strangers. And the ending made me smile.

By the way, this book is nonstop action. One crisis follows hard on the heels of another. If it’s not soldiers or a gang of renegades, it’s a flash flood, a thunder storm, or a life-threatening fever. The story kept me fully engaged.

I can’t fathom being thrown into the situation of Tsatsi and his family. I can’t imagine waking up to soldiers burning my village and having to run into the wilderness to escape them. Then losing my family in the wild and having to fend for myself and my little sister—knowing that soldiers are still following us and believing that my parents and other siblings are dead.

But for many Cherokee families in the 1800s, that’s just what happened. In fact, Tsatsi and his family are lucky because *SPOILER* they actually manage to escape. Other Cherokees were forced to march 1000 miles to Oklahoma, many dying along the way.

And similar things have happened to countless groups of people through the ages. I don’t know why people continue to be such jerks time and time again, but it’s good to know that while there are plenty of Andrew Jacksons and Adolf Hitlers in the world, there are also people like Johnny Garner. And they’re everywhere.

As Tsatsi reflects: “Good people came in all sorts of shapes and colors. And good people made life worthwhile.”

So do good stories, and this short but heartwarming adventure is one of them.
Profile Image for Tonja Drecker.
Author 3 books178 followers
October 2, 2019
This is a tale which transports readers back into history but in such a way which will hit home and leave a mark.

The Trail of Tears was an awful moment in history, and this is where we meet twelve-year-old Tsatsi. His family has been chased out of their village and runs away in hopes of not being found and slaughtered. The journey is perilous, and Tsatsi, along with his young sister, are separated from their family. Things become much more dire when the younger sister falls ill and is kidnapped by the 'evil' Stone Man. Tastsi, determined to save her, discovers that the rumors surrounding Stone Man might not be all they seem, and there is perhaps hope after all.

From the very first page, there is non-stop action and tension. The author throws Tstasi and his family into the deadly situation right away and doesn't let their struggles dampen the entire way through. Although historical, the author does a terrific job and presenting Tstasi and his sister in a way young readers will easily connect to. Their thoughts, hopes, and dreams might be different than those which modern children face, but in many respects, they are similar too. It's easy to root for Tstasi and hope the family pulls through unharmed.

While this is an exciting read, there are many more layers added in. Tstasi is out in the wilderness and needs to overcome some very natural (and dangerous) situations. Survival fans are sure to find several scenes interesting and maybe learn something new along the way. There's also the historical aspect, which allows young readers a very up close look at this sad historical event. It's presented in a way young readers will understand and sympathize with, while still holding it very age appropriate. Add the themes of friendship, sibling relationships, and the wonder of seeing past rumors to the truth, and it's an inspiring mix.

I received an ARC copy and enjoyed the journey so much that I wanted to leave my honest thoughts.
Profile Image for Sherry Ellis.
Author 7 books56 followers
October 1, 2019
Those familiar with US history know of the Trail of Tears. It is a sad chapter in which Cherokee Indians were hunted by US soldiers and forced off of their land. Stone Man and the Trail of Tears is the fictitious story of a young Cherokee boy, Tsatsi, and his family who lived during that time. When his village is attacked, Tsatsi and his sister, Sali, flee and are separated from their family. Things get worse when Sali becomes ill and is kidnapped by Stone Man, a legendary giant who instills fear in the hearts of the Cherokee people. Fortunately, Stone Man is not what he seems. He helps the children on their perilous journey to find a new home.

Stone Man and the Trail of Tears is a fascinating story that has bits of history and culture woven throughout. Readers will learn a little about the Trail of Tears as well as interesting things like which acorns are best to eat and what plants can help reduce fevers. At the end, there is a glossary with Cherokee words and definitions. Recommended for readers in grade 4 and up.
Profile Image for Beverly McClure.
Author 17 books453 followers
April 10, 2020
The story takes place in the fall of 1838 when U. S. soldiers appear at twelve-year-old Tsati’s village and start burning the Cherokees’ homes. The family attempts to escape to freedom. From then on, we follow the family as they live a part of history, later known as the Civil War, that separated families and left many innocent people dead.
The author does a great job showing the fear and uncertainty the characters feel as they struggle to reach safety in what came to be called the Trail of Tears, a fitting name for what the people went through. Imagine yourself in their situation, losing their home, their family separated, not knowing what lay ahead, only that they could not go back to their homes. And then there’s the Stone Man.
STONE MAN AND THE TRAIL OF TEARS is a good read for history lovers and for those that enjoy a great story with characters that touch your heart, at least they did mine. Happy Reading.
Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews

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