THE BIRCHBARK HOUSE by Louise Erdrich (Ojibway) (Hyperion, 1999)

Touching on the same era as the Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, this first book in a planned trilogy is in some ways Erdrich’s answer to the imbalance in the way Native-white relations have historically been portrayed in children’s literature. Readers will be engaged by appealing protagonist, Omakayas, educated by this glimpse at Ojibway daily life, and perhaps inspired to look at history with an eye to different points of view. Elegant writing. This novel was a finalist for the 1999 National Book Award and a 2000 ALA Notable Book in Children’s Literature. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Ages 8-up. Don’t miss the companion novels, THE GAME OF SILENCE (HarperCollins, 2005) and THE PORCUPINE YEAR (HarperCollins, 2008).