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Late Primary/Junior Grades/Middle Grades

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horseby Joseph M. Marshall IIIJim Yellowhawk (Illustrations)

Hardcover, 176 pages
Published November 10th 2015 by Harry N. Abrams
4.5 Stars

My Review: Joseph M. Marshall III is a member of the Lakota nation and he has written other books about Crazy Horse, his childhood hero. This is his biography written for younger readers. Eleven year-old Jimmy McClean is 3/4 Lakota, but his 1/4 Scottish gave him his looks. He is teased about not being a real Lakota by older boys at school. When school gets out for the summer, Jimmy’s grandfather, Nyles High Eagle, invites him to go on a road trip. Jimmy loves spending time with his grandfather, so jumps at the chance. This is not just any ordinary trip, this trip will take them on a journey to follow in the footsteps of Crazy Horse, the Lakota hero and leader who lived in the 1800s. One of the first things Jimmy learns is that Crazy Horse was also teased as a boy because he had light coloring and brown hair. In fact, Crazy Horse’s name as a boy was Light Hair. The journey takes them through South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana. At each stop, Grandpa Nyles tells Jimmy how that area played an important part in the life of Crazy Horse and the Lakota. He explains what happened and why it happened. Jimmy learns that standing up for what you believe in is important and that strength comes from within.

For most readers, you have heard these stories from the perspective of the “Long Knives” or soldiers, but this story is from the perspective of the native people. I enjoyed learning about Crazy Horse and his struggles to defend the Lakota people from the encroachment of white settlers, gold miners and the US Army. One of the interesting things noted was the monument at the Battle of Little Big Horn. It states that General Custer and his battalion were defeated and there were no survivors, but Grandfather Nyles reminds Jimmy, there were survivors, the Lakota. We also learn about the strategy of the warriors that was successful at this battle. One thing I really liked was that Grandfather Nyles repeatedly stated that war should not be glorified and that all soldiers that died need to be remembered for their bravery and honour. The final stop on their trip is where Crazy Horse surrenders. The story explains why the Native People surrendered to the soldiers.

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse is a well written story. The author explains that most of his information came from oral stories told by the Lakota as well as some other published works. The story is almost like a storyteller sharing this life of Crazy Horse with the reader. Jimmy and Grandpa Nyles are not fully part of the story except that they are the storyteller and receiver. It is an easy story to understand and follow and would make a great addition to a school or public library. A great middle grade story.

Continue reading “In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse”

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The Ice Sea Pirates

The Ice Sea Piratesby Frida Nilsson

Hardcover, 359 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by Gecko Press (first published September 1st 2015)
Originally written in Swedish
4 Stars

 

My Review: Everyone knows about the evil Captain Whitehead and his ship the Snow Raven. They kidnap children and take them to Whitehead’s island to work in his diamond mine. On the island of Bluesay, Mikki and Siri are out searching for snowberries. Siri sends Mikki off by herself to hunt and she is snatched by the pirated. Siri wants to go after her, but no one from the village will help. She decides that she will go alone. She leaves her father sleeping and sneaks onto the last ship leaving for Segelen. Her journey is full of danger and magic. She meets mean pirates, a merchild and his mother, a bogle bird and white wolves. She gets captured and ends up working in the mines with her sister and other children. Along the way she discovers how mean and evil humans can be. She also discovers that there is more to Captain Whitehead that the stories she has heard.

This is a story of adventure, hope, determination, cruelty and courage. This is a great story for older readers (grade 5 and up) as they read about the cruelty humans can be capable of to animals and each other. The other thing to discuss is when someone perpetrates evil, but tries to justify it. Siri is brave, loyal, willing to make sacrifices, smart, persevering and has an amazing respect of all life. She remains optimistic even with all the cruelty and harshness of the world that she had to face. The story was well written with a great story, but it was a bit long. I recommend this book for school and class libraries. I think it would make a great read aloud for a middle grades classroom with a lot of themes for discussion. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “The Ice Sea Pirates”

Late Primary, Junior Books I Have Read Lately

Over the last few days, I read several books to review. I am just going to write mini-reviews to give you my overall impressions.

Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend (Book 2)Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend
by Cheryl Carpinello
5 Stars Continue reading “Late Primary, Junior Books I Have Read Lately”

Dream Magic (Shadow Magic #2)

Dream Magic (Shadow Magic, #2)by Joshua Khan

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 11th 2017 by Disney-Hyperion
5 Stars

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The Wacky Winter Wonderland (Hubble Bubble)

Hubble Bubble: The Wacky Winter Wonderland (Hubble Bubble Series)by Tracey CorderoyJoe Berger (Illustrator)

Paperback, 128 pages
Published October 1st 2015 by Nosy Crow
4 Stars

Continue reading “The Wacky Winter Wonderland (Hubble Bubble)”

Clara Humble: Quiz Whiz

Clara Humble: Quiz Whizby Anna Humphrey

Hardcover
Expected publication: September 15th 2017 by Owlkids
4 Stars

Continue reading “Clara Humble: Quiz Whiz”

Warren the 13th and the Whispering Woods

Warren the 13th and the Whispering Woodsby Tania del Rio (Author), Will Staehle (Illustrations)

Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 21st 2017 by Quirk Books
4.5 Stars

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Cinnamon Moon

Cinnamon Moonby Tess Hilmo

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 18th 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
4.5 Stars

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Surfer Dude: The Legendary Stallion of Chincoteague

Surfer Dude: The Legendary Stallion of Chincoteagueby Lois K. Szymanski, Linda Kantjas (Illustrations)

Hardcover
Expected publication: June 28th 2017 by Schiffer Publishing
4.5 Stars

Continue reading “Surfer Dude: The Legendary Stallion of Chincoteague”

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