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The Game of Silence

by Louise Erdrich

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5881840,895 (4.04)41
Nine-year-old Omakayas, of the Ojibwa tribe, moves west with her family in 1849.
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» See also 41 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
“Her name, Omakayas, meant Little Frog. She was nine winters old.” It was 1849. She grows up a lot in this book both in her family and in her training with medicine. She has her vision quest! She also gets a new pet and a new baby brother! And a new threat - the white man.

I love Old Tallow! And her winter coat! I also liked the Break-Apart-Girl!

It's another great chapter in this series, though it ends with great sadness. The encroachment of the chimookoman, or white people, change everything for Omakayas and her people.

Last sentence:

“Here was the next life they would live together on this earth.” ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Feb 16, 2024 |
I've read this at least twice, and am puzzled that goodreads seems to have deleted my review. Continues Omakayas' story and Erdrich's superb storytelling about a Native family's experience during the White westward expansion. Extremely well done. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
I very much enjoyed reading The Game of Silence, but I think it is important to consider that much of what is revealed (or not revealed) depends on the viewpoint of the person telling the story. It is certainly important to acknowledge Erdrich's Native American heritage and the importance of minority storytellers contributing to the "canon," for lack of a better word. But should we not also consider what does not get said? Except for Two Strike and Pinch, who are children and are therefore expected to misbehave on occasion, there are no Native American adults who behave less than nobly in the story. If we accept Erdrich's version of life among the Anishinabeg, everyone gets along, newcomers are always accepted with open arms, resources are always shared and distributed equally, and the white settlers (including the priest and Break-Apart Girl) are treated with nothing but kindness and even a winking acceptance of their "white" ways. Nokomis, Deydey, and Old Tallow are benevolent, loving leaders who nurture Omakayas and the other members of the community without strife or conflict. I felt this was somewhat unrealistic. Native Americans are human. That means they make mistakes and bad decisions, they are not always kind or unselfish, and they are not universally supportive and understanding parents. I say all of this to suggest that perhaps, in attempting to counteract the negative stereotypes contained in so many of the stories written about Native Americans, Erdrich went overboard in attempting to depict them positively, and in doing so sacrificed some of the realism necessary to effectuate acceptance and understanding by non-Native American readers.
The inclusion of Old Tallow, who acknowledges her inability to remain in a marital relationship but survives and thrives on her own, contributes to the message that girls are important and contribute to the community in significant ways. I also appreciated Erdrich's subtle inclusion of environmental issues, such as the importance of conserving natural resources and recycling available materials rather than throwing them away. These messages were subtle, and not "preachy," but were communicated in ways that younger readers can appreciate and understand. ( )
  jgmencarini | Jul 11, 2021 |
the overarching plot point of this book is an important one, and i'm glad she gets to it immediately after setting the scene in the birchbark house. the white people going back on their word and forcing the ojibwe people from their homes and into dangerous territory. (not to mention, territory that is unlike what they're used to and know; changing all they know to do to live.) but in the end, this is - plot-wise - quite a small portion of the book. it is mostly taken up with everyday stories of the family and the people. small anecdotes that, to me, don't make a very compelling book, but do give a good idea of the life in that time, for those people, in that place. i would have preferred more of the larger plot, but, again, my 9 year old son liked this more than i did as it was. the writing in this one seemed a little better than in the birchbark house. ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | May 8, 2021 |
A compelling story about strength and gifts in a time of uncertainty. This sequel to The Birchbark House continues Omakayas' quest to understand her power as a dreamer, even as white settlers threaten to encroach on their way of life. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Monica Irwin (The Lorgnette - Heart of Texas Reviews (Vol. 18, No. 1))
In the sequel to the award winning The Birchbark House, readers are once again introduced to Omakayas (or Little Frog), a young girl in the Ojibwa tribe. It is 1850 and her family lives on Lake Michigan. Her adopted brother, Pinch, is growing and becoming more of a pain to the older girl. But the family shows much love for one another and for the whole tribe. When some desperate and hungry strangers arrive in the camp, Omakayas and all the rest of the Ojibwa tribe soon realize that their lives will be changing. Because of the encroachment of the white people on their land, Omakayas and family must eventually leave all they have known. The trip will be difficult but Omakayas has decided to accept the changes and at the conclusion of the book as the family travels, the “game of silence” becomes the game of survival. All must remain totally silent as they travel through some dangerous places. This is a serious book and yet there is much warmth and humor. The book will add to the understanding of each reader as it explores the life of the Ojibwa and the general nature of many Native American tribes in the 1850s.
added by kthomp25 | editThe Lorgnette - Heart of Texas Reviews, Monica Irwin
 
Joe Sutliff Sanders (VOYA, August 2005 (Vol. 28, No. 3))
In this sequel to The Birchbark House (Hyperion, 1999), a young Ojibwe girl embraces her own talents under the threat of a United States government that has determined to take her people's land for itself. The year is 1850, and although her family has survived smallpox and unforgiving winters, this latest danger seems insurmountable. Stragglers pushed off their land join the tribe, filling homes emptied by disease and introducing new rivalries. Omakayas feels the first stirrings of romance and proves to the adults that her abilities deserve respect, as she rescues her father from slow death in a frozen lake and helps visualize the new life that the tribe will build to the west. Still a girl, she bristles against the restrictions that adults place on her and struggles to control the jealousy she feels for another girl who has managed to throw off traditional constraints. The first book won enormous praise, including a National Book Award nomination, but this novel is even better. The themes are not only more profound, but the episodic structure of the previous novel is also much exceeded by the interweaving plot threads of young love, sibling rivalry, and frustration with gender roles. The threat that the federal government poses to the community is more than just a framing device; it penetrates all the other concerns of the novel, drawing them tightly together.
added by kthomp25 | editVOYA, Joe Sutliff Sanders
 
CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices, 2006)
In The Birchbark House, Louise Erdrich introduced young readers to Omakayas, a seven-year-old Ojibwe girl in the mid-nineteenth century living on what is now called Madeleine Island. That lyrical novel chronicled one year in the life of Omakayas, through seasons marked by both harmony and hardship. Now Omakayas is nine winters old. As summer starts, a worn-out group of elders, women, and children from far-off villages arrive on the shores of their island. They were forced from their homes by the chimookomanag, the white people. Even as they seek refuge within Omakayas’s community, they warn the adults in the village that they will soon face the same fate. Omakayas cannot begin to comprehend the idea of leaving the land she has always called home. As the cycles of the seasons turn and turn again, the villagers await word from the small group of men who’ve gone off in search of news and answers. Meanwhile, they continue with the rhythm of their lives. For Omakayas, this means working and playing within the context of her immediate family, and the larger family that her community represents. From mischievous Pinch, Omakayas’s younger brother; to spirited, unruly Two-Strike Girl; to fierce, independent Old Tallow; to loving, wise Nokomis, Omakayas’s grandmother, the characters live and breathe in a story that is full of humor, richness, and heart. Through it all, Erdrich never strays from the center, where a young girl’s growing awareness of change—in herself and in the world around her—both complicate and facilitate her understanding of what is happening as she faces a future filled with uncertainty. CCBC Category: Fiction for Children. 2005, HarperCollins, 256 pages, $15.99 and $16.89. Ages 8-12.
added by kthomp25 | editCooperative Children’s Book Center Choices
 

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To Aza, migiziins, n'dawnis, gizhawenimin
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Six black dots wavered on the far shore.
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Nine-year-old Omakayas, of the Ojibwa tribe, moves west with her family in 1849.

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