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The Birchbark House

by Louise Erdrich

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1,877626,440 (3.94)98
Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847.
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An excellent counter to white-centric pioneer narratives. Omakayas is a resourceful and gifted girl who must learn to use her gifts when the unthinkable disrupts the flow of her family's life. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
Like many young girls, Omakayas lives with her family, argues with her siblings, does chores she dislikes, and cares for her baby brother. But when tragedy strikes, she reveals a strength she didn't know she had and gains wisdom through her pain. This is a lovely story filled with life lessons and heartache. It feels a little like the Little House books. This is one I expect to gift my nieces as they get older. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Oct 23, 2020 |
I picked this one up because it's by Louise Erdrich, one of my favorite writers. I didn't realize it's a children's book. Never mind! It's still worth reading.

We follow young Omakayas and her family through the seasons. They live on an island that is threatened by the intrusion of white men. It's only a matter of time before they are pushed off to other land. But they live day to day, doing what they have always done, dealing with the forces nature puts up against them.

Omakayas has a little brother, Pinch, and a baby brother, Neewo. She adores the baby but is irritated by Pinch's relentless horsing around. She takes her position seriously, helping the family with every part of the work they do, from helping build their birchbark house in the summer to sealing the chinks in their winter cabin. She's not a fan of helping to tan hides, but she does it.

The family suffers severe setbacks. Everyone is affected. It takes time for Omakayas to find herself again, to once again welcome the spring.

The story is full of personal tales, tragic and comic, and much about the lives of this tribe on Lake Superior. Erdrich illustrated the story with warm, engaging drawings that extend our understanding. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
00007537
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
Wonderful story about a Native American family life and hardships. ( )
  caanderson | Jul 26, 2020 |
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"The only person left alive on the island was a baby girl."
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Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847.

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