This tale of an Ojibwa girl living in North America in the mid-nineteenth century is a tale of everyday life, with its pleasures and dilemmas, but also a story filled with the depth of family love, grief and healing in the face of tragedy, and the complexity of growing into one's identity as a human being. In this story of a year in the life of Omakayas, we learn of her mixed feelings towards her siblings and chores, her relationship with a crow who becomes a beloved pet, and the complexities of the yearly routines (such as the building of the birchbark house and the collection of maple sap to make syrup) that allow her family to survive on the land. At the same time, we join her as she faces deep grief at the loss of a loved one through illness, discovers secrets of her past, and comes into her own as a human being. This is a thoughtful, quietly powerful tale that both tells a story from an important perspective often overlooked in this region's history and also explores the timeless theme of the experience of growing up and into oneself as a person.
Similar books: The Game of Silence by Louise Erdrich; The Porcupine Year by Louise Erdrich
Awards nominated: National Book Award Finalist
Date read: 12/31/2011