HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Education of Little Tree (1976)

by Forrest Carter

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,757504,439 (3.84)1 / 59
The Education of Little Tree tells of a boy orphaned very young, who is adopted by his Cherokee grandmother and half-Cherokee grandfather in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee during the Great Depression. "Little Tree" as his grandparents call him is shown how to hunt and survive in the mountains, to respect nature in the Cherokee Way, taking only what is needed, leaving the rest for nature to run its course. Little Tree also learns the often callous ways of white businessmen and tax collectors, and how Granpa, in hilarious vignettes, scares them away from his illegal attempts to enter the cash economy. Granma teaches Little Tree the joys of reading and education. But when Little Tree is taken away by whites for schooling, we learn of the cruelty meted out to Indian children in an attempt to assimilate them and of Little Tree's perception of the Anglo world and how it differs from the Cherokee Way. A classic of its era, and an enduring book for all ages, The Education of Little Tree has now been redesigned for this twenty-fifth anniversary edition.… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

» See also 59 mentions

English (47)  Spanish (2)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (50)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
Story of a young boy who is left orphaned and raised by his grandparents in Appalachia. His grandmother is Cherokee and his grandfather half Cherokee. They live in a small house up on a mountainside, with a bunch of hound dogs that protect their corn patch and trail foxes (for amusement). They mostly live off the land, gathering herbs, acorns and wild greens, hunting deer, catching fish etc. But the grandfather also makes whiskey in an attempt to earn some cash, and young Little Tree is learning this skill. Something I never thought I’d read the details of, making moonshine! Most of the story takes place while Little Tree is six years old (he seems older than that though), and there’s other stories told by visitors and friends, or shared family history. The kid does his best to learn what his grandparents teach him- not only to live off what the land gives them, but also to read (his grandmother reads Shakespeare from the library, and has him studying the dictionary) and do simple math. He’s pretty well taught for a kid who’s never gone to school, but when out in public with his grandfather- at the store, on the bus, or sitting in church- it’s apparent that the white folks around them look down on his family for being poor in material goods, for going barefoot or wearing deerskin clothing. Although the kid himself never really catches on that he’s being mocked. Different kinds of people come to their little house- those representing authorities that have good interests at heart, are given the runaround (in some very hilarious scenes). Relatives, friends, and one Jewish peddler however, are welcomed into their home, and Little Tree learns compassion, patience, and other bits of wisdom from them.

Things happen, up and down the mountainside, and I was settling into the rhythm of their days, the picture of life in the backwoods this gave me, when suddenly authorities find out this kid is living with his grandparents and not in school. They pull him out of his home and send him to a religious boarding school. Where things are very unpleasant and oppressive, to say the least. I’m glad the kid made it out of there, but the ending had me feeling really sad.

This book brought two others to mind while I was reading it: Where the Red Fern Grows (because of the hound dogs) and Where the Lilies Bloom (the setting and overall style). But once again, it also makes me grit my teeth when I look about online after and learn some facts. When this book was first published the author said it was autobiographical. Nope. He’s not even Native American. Before I was aware, I was enjoying the read and thought it a good story, but now I cringe at the things I didn’t question in the narrative, that are so blatantly wrong or stereotypical. Have to read with doubt in mind now: American Indians in Children’s Literature made me aware of some issues with this one. I feel like I should remove it from my personal collection.

from the Dogear Diary ( )
1 vote jeane | Nov 28, 2021 |
Little Tree's parents die when he is only five years old, and he goes into the mountains to live with his grandparents. His Grandma is full Cherokee, and his Grandpa is Cherokee/Scotts, but lives the Cherokee way. Most of the book is more like a collections of short stories, telling little episodes in Little Tree's life, and how his Grandpa taught him everything worth knowing. Some of the tales are sad, some fascinating, and some laugh out loud funny. We see the world through the eyes of a young child, who is as innocent as they come. Beautiful book.
(If you have an early edition, it may be identified as biography. It is not. It is fiction, and should be read as such.) ( )
  fingerpost | Mar 27, 2021 |
I don't think I've cried so hard over the last chapters of a book since I was a little girl and Charlotte said her last goodbye to Wilbur. This is one of those classics that is a classic for a reason. Sad, funny, and beautiful by turns, the story of Little Tree's childhood being raised by his Cherokee grandparents in a fiercely independent mountain community during the Depression is well worth reading. The story, the characters, the prose, the nods to history--all of it is superbly executed.

Edit: I tend to skim over author biographies in older books and wasn't aware that a)this had been marketed as a memoir for years and b)the author is/was DEEPLY problematic. I still loved the book. ( )
  EQReader | Dec 1, 2020 |
Carter's novel is billed as the recollections of his few years with his Eastern Cherokee Hill country grandparents, who he lived with after being orphaned at age 5. (see below, which I learned later)
Although I enjoyed the anecdotal stories, and some of the narrator's catch-phrases, I wasn't too impressed with the book overall.
Even given that it is being written by a grown man backfilling his memories with a mature understanding and developed ideology, the events he relates are not, in my view (having raised five boys), ones that would have impressed themselves on a 5-7 year old in the manner presented, even if he remembered them at all.

Some of the narration is definitely colored by an adult viewpoint that Little Tree at that age would not have absorbed.
Also, what Little Tree sometimes does is unusual for such a young child, even in the more self-sufficient past years, and would be more characteristic of an older boy. I would believe it of an 8-9 year old, and some of it is more likely for the early teens.

I've noticed this defect in other books by men (and sometimes women) purporting to write about young children; I don't think they have a good grasp of child developmental stages.

Also, this is fiction, not a genuine memoir, and has been "debunked" since 1986, despite its glowing praise earlier, before the author was discovered to be writing under a false name and pretenses.

His view of Cherokee & half-breed country life was therefore not the "authentic one" lauded by earlier reviewers -- Mr. Strickland probably cringes every time he thinks about his Foreword to the 1986 edition (which just goes to show how poorly our literary mavens judge books) -- but that doesn't mean there were not some people of that milieu who saw things the way Carter presented them.

The author's prior White Supremacist ideology doesn't seem to have colored the narrator's viewpoint, which is outwardly sympathetic to the native plight. I didn't detect that particular strain in my reading before checking the Wiki article, and clearly none of its earlier fans did either.
So the question goes: if the author's "bad think" doesn't make it into the book, is the book still tainted?

I just think it wasn't as great as the fashionable-fans thought it was.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Education_of_Little_Tree ( )
1 vote librisissimo | Feb 29, 2020 |
I really loved this book.
(After finding out who the author apparently was, I feel that I should love the book far less, yet this book really moved me, so what I am to do: change my rating based on an apparently odious author, despite his ability to write moving and thought-provoking work which I did not take to represent Cherokee (and certainly not true Tsalagi culture, as in pre-contact or authentic Cherokee tradition handed down authentically...) culture?

What stays with me is the quiet sense of just being, with no need to talk or explain (explains that irritating habit of my Grandmother to just sit there and look at you in "stony silence" as Professor Yunus described the members of the Cherokee (I forget if it was Eastern Band or CNO) when he introduced MicroCredit [b:Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty|27533|Banker to the Poor Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty|Muhammad Yunus|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1284082691s/27533.jpg|1390141] ).

This book, along with the much compared-to Huckleberry Fin/Adventures of Tom Sawyer, is one that perhaps should be taught in classrooms alongside Mark Twain's work around the USA and beyond.

It's been some months since I read it, so my notes are now a bit less clear. One thing that did stay with me as a big question mark was that part about Cherokee kids being taught early on how to go out of their bodies. That seems rather like at-will Dissociation, which is... On the other hand, Lt. Timberlake was amazed at the Cherokee ability to ignore pain, during his stay as a 'guest' after the War with the Brits: [b:The Memoirs of Lt. Henry Timberlake: The Story of a Soldier, Adventurer, and Emissary to the Cherokees, 1756-1765|1056170|The Memoirs of Lt. Henry Timberlake The Story of a Soldier, Adventurer, and Emissary to the Cherokees, 1756-1765|Duane H. King|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1348817672s/1056170.jpg|1042725]


P.10 value for an idea that nothing should be allowed to "burden our heads"
p. 11 I love The Way -most sensible!
P. 29 feelings vs good sense...
p. 97 taught to expect nothing from life but "their place" -I'm no longer sure what I mean by this quote.

P. 113 the last sentence, the understanding of love, having his life saved, was the most moving for me

and Wow: Willow John's Death Song...


review updated 3rd of August, 12017 HE
( the Holocene Calendar: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_calendar )
( )
  FourFreedoms | May 17, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
This is an engaging story of a Cherokee boy's childhood in the 1930s. The richness of the informal education and wisdom provided by the boy's grandparents is in striking contrast to that of the white-run school the boy is subsequently forced to attend. This book was originally published as autobiographical reminiscences, but has been reclassified as fiction. Controversy surrounds this moving work. Some believe author Forrest Carter to be the late Asa Earl Carter, a white supremacist. Carter, nevertheless, could have had Cherokee heritage and still have held racist beliefs.
 
Part of Little Tree’s strong appeal, I suspect, is its tone of moral certainty. If Grandpa’s folksy wisdom feels a bit heavy-handed at times, it also serves as a touching reminder of a more innocent era. For young and old alike, Forrest Carter’s memoir brings alive once more, in luminously remembered detail, the shape and spirit of a world we had lost.
 
A Cherokee boyhood of the 1930s remembered in generous, loving detail...an unbelievably rich young life. A felicitous remembrance of a unique education.
added by ArrowStead | editKirkus Reviews (Oct 1, 1976)
 
There's humor, tragedy, tenderness, and, most of all, love....A lot of people receive a lot of education from their grandparents that schools don't offer. But few have expressed it as well as Little Tree has. Very good reading.
added by ArrowStead | editAbilene Reporter
 
I cannot recall a book that has moved me from laughter to tears and back again, with the frequency that this one has....If I could have but one book this year this would be my choice, for it is a deeply felt work which satisfies and fills.
added by ArrowStead | editChattanooga Times
 

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Forrest Carterprimary authorall editionscalculated
Strickland, RennardForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Ma lasted a year after Pa was gone.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

The Education of Little Tree tells of a boy orphaned very young, who is adopted by his Cherokee grandmother and half-Cherokee grandfather in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee during the Great Depression. "Little Tree" as his grandparents call him is shown how to hunt and survive in the mountains, to respect nature in the Cherokee Way, taking only what is needed, leaving the rest for nature to run its course. Little Tree also learns the often callous ways of white businessmen and tax collectors, and how Granpa, in hilarious vignettes, scares them away from his illegal attempts to enter the cash economy. Granma teaches Little Tree the joys of reading and education. But when Little Tree is taken away by whites for schooling, we learn of the cruelty meted out to Indian children in an attempt to assimilate them and of Little Tree's perception of the Anglo world and how it differs from the Cherokee Way. A classic of its era, and an enduring book for all ages, The Education of Little Tree has now been redesigned for this twenty-fifth anniversary edition.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.84)
0.5 3
1 16
1.5
2 25
2.5 6
3 64
3.5 17
4 114
4.5 12
5 124

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 180,311,845 books! | Top bar: Always visible