Tuesday, March 15, 2016

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall

I picked this book up because of its title and appealing cover image. While I would not have been disappointed if the story dealt with an American kid from the suburbs taking a trip out West, this book exceeded my expectations because it features Native American protagonists engaged in thoughtful introspection.

Jimmy Mclean is proud of his Lakota heritage even though despite his mixed ancestry he doesn't look like a full-blooded member of the tribe. Two of his peers remind him daily of this fact as well much to his dismay.  He confides in his grandfather and the latter decides to take him on an epic road trip.

The pair visit various monuments in several states in an effort to follow Crazy Horse's path and along the way grandfather gives his perspective on the many adventures the famed Lakota warrior had in his life. As with most famous individuals whose deeds were larger than life, Crazy Horse's life was filled with highs and lows and Marshall makes sure and provide some insight into why the Lakota and their allies did what they did in some cases.

Sherman Alexie may have the market cornered for fiction based on Native Americans for teen and older readers but Marshall may just be on to something here with this sensitive, honest portrayal of Native Americans. It is not every day that children and younger readers can read a book that is a labor of love and in which the author is actually sharing a piece of himself in the process. This book is one such novel and I highly recommend it for readers of all races, colors and creeds. I firmly believe that literature is one way in which we can learn about each other.

For more reviews like this one, check out my blog here.

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