First Lines: The rows of corn stretch out before me like long lines of soldiers. For the past week, Mother, Barbara and I have been harvesting the ripened ears. Now there are just gleanings left to gather.
This was another Revolutionary War-era book my students were going to have to read that I needed to read before they did. I was interested in this, partly because my interest in Native American-Early American relationships (not romantic ones!) has been piqued due to genealogy and another book series I’ve fallen in love with.
In moments, Regina’s life is changed forever. In a startling attack on her family’s cabin, Regina’s father and older brother are killed by Allegheny Indians and Regina is taken captive. Her mother, who was not at home, may be the only family Regina has left. Forced into a new life, Regina struggles to hold on to the past she longs for. Now, she is Tskinnak, a girl who can fish, dance, and speak in the Indian way. As the years go by, she never stops wondering…will she ever see her mother again?
Alright, folks, I’m going to tell you some awesome facts about this story: It’s based on an incredibly true story with a resolution that I can’t even tell you without spoiling the book. Just trust me on that one that sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. It’s also set in 1755, which is actually more like the French and Indian War-era than the Revolution. (Fun fact: Did you know America is the only country that calls it the French and Indian War? Other countries call it the Seven Years War. I learned that like, a year ago. And felt a little dumb I didn’t know that before.)
SO. The Book. I love historical fictions, especially from the era of colonial life. This does a good job representing that as well as the Native American lifestyle. It’s such an interesting culture. I loved learning more about it.
I felt like Regina was incredibly real. At only about 10 years old, she’s completely shocked by everything that happens. She clings to what she knows and rebels when asked to change. She goes through a lot of things that really are terrible. I think in her situation, a lot of us would react the same way.
I really am stuck on the history in this one. Sorry. It’s so fascinating.
Oh! So, my middle schoolers have started reading this and the overall opinion is that it’s good. (I think my readers for this one are 100% girls. The boys prefer The Year of the Hangman.) They like Regina’s character and they’re completely drawn into Regina’s new world as Tskinnak. It’s not often I get to talk to my students about books like this, and it’s so cool to see how much they like this.