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The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

The Birchbark House

by Louise Erdrich

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1,172446,889 (3.86)54

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Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
This book was heartbreaking. I shed many tears when Omakayas's little brother passed away. This book would be wonderful if I were teaching a unit on Native Americans. While this book was well written, I personally was not a huge fan of it because I found any action in the storyline to stem from sadness, which I don't love in a book. However, this book did teach me a lot about Native Americans including their kinship structures and the ways they were affected by white people immigrating to their lands. ( )
  alaina.loescher | Aug 5, 2016 |
For some reason this didn't quite hit my 'enjoy' button. I believe it was well-written, and it had a good mix of historical value, excitement, humor, family relationships, and coming-of-age inner story. I suspect the only kids who read it are those who get it read to them in school, though. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
I really liked this book. How much simpler life was back then! I'm not sure if it would hold a young reader's attention, but it held mine. ( )
  lisaerdahl | Apr 30, 2016 |
I read this just to get into the culture, but along the way the story settled into my heart. Very sweet come of age story for a young girl. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
Though fictionalized, the Birchbark House gives an accurate portrayal of Ojibwa daily life during the late 1940s. The pacing of the book is quite leisurely and unhurried, and it took me a little time to get into it; but it was well worth it. Anyone interested in Native American stories and/or history should try it out. ( )
  jennk | Mar 11, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0786814543, Paperback)

Nineteenth-century American pioneer life was introduced to thousands of young readers by Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved Little House books. With The Birchbark House, award-winning author Louise Erdrich's first novel for young readers, this same slice of history is seen through the eyes of the spirited, 7-year-old Ojibwa girl Omakayas, or Little Frog, so named because her first step was a hop. The sole survivor of a smallpox epidemic on Spirit Island, Omakayas, then only a baby girl, was rescued by a fearless woman named Tallow and welcomed into an Ojibwa family on Lake Superior's Madeline Island, the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker. We follow Omakayas and her adopted family through a cycle of four seasons in 1847, including the winter, when a historically documented outbreak of smallpox overtook the island.

Readers will be riveted by the daily life of this Native American family, in which tanning moose hides, picking berries, and scaring crows from the cornfield are as commonplace as encounters with bear cubs and fireside ghost stories. Erdrich--a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwa--spoke to Ojibwa elders about the spirit and significance of Madeline Island, read letters from travelers, and even spent time with her own children on the island, observing their reactions to woods, stones, crayfish, bear, and deer. The author's softly hewn pencil drawings infuse life and authenticity to her poetic, exquisitely wrought narrative. Omakayas is an intense, strong, likable character to whom young readers will fully relate--from her mixed emotions about her siblings, to her discovery of her unique talents, to her devotion to her pet crow Andeg, to her budding understanding of death, life, and her role in the natural world. We look forward to reading more about this brave, intuitive girl--and wholeheartedly welcome Erdrich's future series to the canon of children's classics. (Ages 9 and older) --Karin Snelson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:08 -0400)

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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. For as long as Omakayas can remember, she and her family have lived on the land her people call the Island of the Golden-Breasted Woodpecker. Although the chimookoman, white people, encroach more and more on their land, life continues much as it always has. Every summer the family builds a new birchbark house; every fall they go to ricing camp to harvest and feast; they move to the cedar log house before the first snows arrive, and celebrate the end of the long, cold winters at maple-sugaring camp. In between, Omakayas fights with her annoying little brother, Pinch, plays with the adorable baby, Neewo, and tries to be grown-up like her beautiful older sister, Angeline. But the satisfying rhythms of their lives are shattered when a visitor comes to their lodge one winter night, bringing with him an invisible enemy that will change things forever. Set on an island in Lake Superior in 1847, and filled with fascinating details of traditional Ojibwa life, The Birchbark House is a breathtaking novel by one of America's most gifted and original writers.… (more)

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