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The Birchbark House
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December 2017: Social Issues > The Birchbark House / Louise Erdrich - 4****

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6033 comments I think this fits because of the explanation of the Native people's way of life and how it is impacted by Europeans (especially small pox epidemics)

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich
The Birchbark House – Louise Erdrich
Book on CD narrated by Nicolle Littrell

What Laura Ingalls Wilder did for the pioneer families in 19th century plains states, Erdrich has done for the Native Americans in this same time period.

Omakayas is a seven-year-old Ojibwa girl living in Michigan. She is the sole survivor of a small pox epidemic when she’s taken into another family as an infant. Tallow is a strong matriarch and Omakayas (also called Little Frog), thrives in the community on Lake Superior’s Madeline Island, also known as the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker. The book follows Omakayas, her family and the tribe through four seasons of 1847.

I was fascinated by this story of the life of the Native Americans during this time period. I learned about the hard work of tanning hides, the craft of decorating special garments with intricate beadwork, the cycles of hunting and gathering, and the dangers (and joys) of living so close to nature.

Omakayas is a wonderful narrator – inquisitive, observant, intelligent, and compassionate. She’s also a typical seven year old – sometimes a little naughty, and not always understanding the reasons why she is asked to perform certain tasks, or forbidden from other adventures. I can see why this is sometimes taught in social studies classes for middle-grade students.

Erdrich is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwa, and she spoke to various Ojibwa elders about the significance of Madeline Island. Events depicted are historically accurate (including a documented small pox epidemic). The text version includes Erdrich’s pencil drawing illustrations.

Nicolle Littrell does a fine job performing the audio version. She has good pacing and the book is clearly understandable for even younger readers.

LINK to my review

message 2: by LibraryCin (last edited Dec 31, 2017 09:55AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

LibraryCin | 8651 comments I really enjoyed this, as well. And I also thought of it as a Native Little House-type book.

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