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Sees Behind Trees

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  595 ratings  ·  112 reviews
Visually impaired Walnut cannot earn his adult name the same way other boys do, by hitting a target with a bow and arrow. With his highly developed other senses, however, he earns a new name: Sees Behind Trees. "Dorris takes on some meaty existential issues here; he does so with grace, bighearted empathy, and always with crystal-clear vision".--"School Library Journal" ...more
Paperback, 104 pages
Published 1999 (first published 1996)
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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Sees Behind Trees was Written by Michael Dorris. Sees Behind Trees is about a native American boy named walnut. In his culture you must a piece of moss in the air with a bow and arrow. Once he does that he will become a man and get an adult name. The problem is he has blurry vision so he can’t see very well. So for him to pass he might have to see in a different way. One morning instead of training with his mom they go to a part of the forest he never seen and blindfolds him. Then his mom asks ...more
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Another remarkable American Indian early chapter book by Dorris. A Native American boy with a special gift to "see" beyond his poor eyesight journeys with an old warrior to a land of mystery and beauty.
Elza Kinde
The trial to earn his adult name is fast approaching, but Walnut knows he'll never be able to pass. No amount of training will fix eyes that can only see blurry colors and swimming shapes. Even his mother's strange methods won't make his arrow hit the mark.

Sees Behind Trees is an immersive coming-of-age tale told with gentle wisdom that I found deeply refreshing. Friends in strange places, lost and found things, and a quest for a secret place. It's one of those stories that feels longer than it
C.J. Milbrandt
Walnut cannot become a man unless he masters the bow and arrow, but he is near-sighted. He cannot see the target, but with his ears, he can "see" things no one else can. So he earns a man's name—Sees Behind Trees. Best friends and Brings the Deer. Father's footfalls and finding a needle. Outrunning the sunset and becoming a raindrop. The power of wanting and the weight of stories.

Thoughtful, sometimes wistful, gentle, and expansive. I will not soon forget Sees the Trees and his journey. This is
Madison Henson
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
It's seem little dull but still good storying. I've hard visions "sees behind trees" of relate to all saying. So it not clearly for me.
Oct 17, 2016 rated it liked it
The book Sees Behind Trees by Michael Dorris tells the story of a boy/man named Walnut who cannot see well as others do. However, he was given the ability to see what lies beyond the ordinary view. Given this ability, a man named Gray Fire wishes to use Walnuts ability to see the magical land of water that he had once seen in his early childhood. Walnut had only promised to Gray Fire that he can at least try. On this journey, Walnut and Gray Fire have encountered much of the unrevealed answers, ...more
Ryan Miller
Sep 08, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a story as much about the reader seeing the world differently as it is about the main character seeing with his ears. It is about longing and about loss, but not in the way we normally read about those issues. I, as a man of European descent, cannot see the world from a Native American perspective, but I can get glimpses of different ways of seeing life from a novel like this. Michael Dorris' own ethnic identity may be ambiguous, but he certainly spent his life experiencing a variety of ...more
Sep 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: survival, 7dla
I didn't like this book very much. The plot of a First Nations boy finding his strengths and weaknesses is good but it was a little confusing at some points. It was also kind of just boring for me because I don't like this kind of book, but people who like mystery books or surprising books would love it. But all in all, it was an okay book because some of the parts in it were really good.
Oct 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 7d-l-a
i didn't really like the book/story at all,
Sep 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 7dla, fiction
I give this book a 3, I probably wouldn't recommended this book to anyone because I don't no anybody who likes this genre. Its about a boy who cant see really well but has other good senses and goes on a journey to find something his friend lost. I didn't like it because the plot is so slow and has a quick ending
Sep 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 7dla, fiction, indigenous
this book is about a young indigenous boy who gains his manhood and goes on a trip with a fellow man. they go through many obstacles while on this trip. I liked how it educated me about first nations culture, however, I did not like how the events played out because it was not very interesting. If you want to learn about first nations culture then I would recommend this book to you.
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
E enjoyed this book much more than Children of the Longhouse. I think she identified with the main character and his feeling of "otherness" from the other boys of his tribe. She did a great looking map summary of the book. An excellent selection to start off the school year. But a little below her reading level.
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book, 7dla, survival, done
this book wasn't my favourite . It kind of got boring at some parts but sometimes I also wanted to know what happens next. I would recommend it to anyone that likes out doors,it is more of a mature read.

Sep 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 7dla
This book was not good at all. There were no parts in this book where I wanted to know what was going to happen. The plot was really BORING!!!!! They go find some waterfall and then come back. I kept asking myself the point of the book but I never figured it out.
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Sees Behind Trees is about a Native American boy named walnut. Walnut is almost blind. He faces many challenges in his life. The biggest challenge yet is to use his bow and arrow to show that he is ready for his adult name. This book shows we all face challenges.
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
I personally don't like this book very much. The storyline was a great idea in the end but they took to long to actually get to the point. It was really boring for most of the time because nothing was happening. The protagonist (walnut) is blind and his other senses are much better.
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 7d-la
I didn't enjoy this book as much as i wish. I do recommend to read it. Some parts I really enjoyed, but then it got boring afterwards. You need to read the book yourself I think in order to know if you like it, its good if you like things to do with social studies and first nation.
Rian Angeli
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 7d-la
It wasn't the best but it wasn't the worst. It kind of got boring at some parts but sometimes I also really wanted to know what happens next. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone that doesn't like this genre.

Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book wasn't may favourite book but it wasn't a bad book, it just didn't catch my interest as much as I like it to. It had a lot of good description but just the title wasn't catching my attention. I not saying that the book is bad because it's really not, it was just not for me.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I tend to enjoy a book based on its overall picture it's overall moral. More so than worrying about the details. But there were a few details in this one that I thought were inconsistent or I possibly read incorrectly. Such as the boy who has had a hard time seeing describing the shiny blue trout scales. Or them playing with a ball I can't see a ball being part of this time. None of this made much of a difference though because the story itself was so good.

This is me speak/typing things I want
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Walnut had a hard time seeing. Walnut and the other boys had to prove they were adults by their accuracy of arrow shooting. Walnut was worried about how he was going to hit the target since he didn’t have a good eye sight. The ceremony came and the boys were asked to “see” what could not be seen. When that all happened Walnut earned the respect he deserved, he became a man and got the name of “sees behind trees.”.

A theme for this book may be, making a weakness a strength is an important skill
Jun 02, 2019 rated it liked it
-It's a short read, well-paced.
-It shows how personal weakness and strengths can be two sides of the same coin.
-There are realistic and wholesome family interactions.
-It explores the tricky transitions between child and adult.
-Walnut/Sees Behind Trees is relatable, Gray Fire is lovable, Checha brings hope and redemption.
-Gray Fire's story warns against pride, Otter's story warns against jealousy (inverted pride).

(view spoiler)
Turns out I'd read this book before, probably when I was in elementary school, and had just forgotten. I remembered one of the opening scenes, though, where Sees Behind Trees locates a girl's needle using logic. I had thought that was so cool when I was a kid. I didn't remember anything else of the book, though, so I went ahead and reread it. I only gave this three stars because I felt the pacing was a little slow, but the themes were good and meaningful. It was much more meaningful as an adult ...more
Mr. Gottshalk
I read this rather short story in one day. And it's just that - a story about a peculiar Native American boy, who becomes a man, and has an...interesting...journey with his uncle into the wilderness. This is one of the few historical fiction books that I know of that deals with Native Americans and is kid-friendly (level T). The writing is pretty clear-cut, but beyond the story itself, there really aren't words behind words to think about, and a level T reader should be able to handle the ...more
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
I bought this book a long time ago at a school book sale, and while I found many good books at those sales, this was not one of them. The ending is either a poorly written metaphor or a bit of magic inserted into an otherwise realistic historical fiction, and it has never really made sense to me. I read it again thinking that maybe I just didn’t understand it when I was younger, but it really is just that poorly done.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it
"Sometimes the people need someone to do the impossible. . .Someone with the ability to see what can't be seen" (pg. 46).
This sweet little book is an easy read and full of wisdom. My favorite is when Gray Fire tells Eyes Behind Trees not to nod his head if he doesn't truly understand. A good lesson for young people. As is the lesson of listening to one's own instincts.
Enjoyable and interesting.
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The works of Michael Dorris are treasures. I have read Guests, and other works, and can now add Sees Behind Trees to the list. This book is good for all ages. It tells an interesting mystical story with wonderful characterizations. I love the interactions between the characters, and also the workings of Walnut's mind as he becomes Sees Behind Trees. A wonderful story.
David Gamble
I would especially recommend this book to boys entering adolescence and the people who love them. It's rare to find a well-done, comforting but real about hardship, grounded fiction book about what that time feels like and where to go with it.
Georgia Reed
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I looked forward to reading this book every morning.
Meggin Dail
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
WOW. What amazing imagery. Amazing storytelling and so many "things" wrapped up in this tight little "coming of age" story - so much more than that - some many lessons here.
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Michael Dorris was a novelist, short story writer, nonfiction writer, and author of books for children

The first member of his family to attend college, Dorris graduated from Georgetown with honors in English and received his graduate degree in anthropology from Yale. Dorris worked as a professor of English and anthropology at Dartmouth College.

Dorris was part-Native American through the lineage
“Without somebody to watch me, laugh at my jokes, tell me what to do, ask me questions, race me to the river, make me guess the names of birds, or challenge me to count the silvery fish in a school, there was nothing for me to do. Without somebody to be somebody to, it was as though I wasn't somebody myself.” 1 likes
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