In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall

Published by Harry N. Abrams 

Summary:  11-year-old Jimmy gets teased at his reservation school for having light skin and blue eyes, not looking like a real Lakota.  His grandfather decides to help him one summer by taking him on a journey through Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana to learn about the famous Lakota warrior Crazy Horse.  Through the places they visit and his grandfather’s stories, Jimmy learns about Crazy Horse’s life, his courage in battle, and his wisdom in knowing when not to fight.  Grandpa’s stories, in italics, make up the majority of the narrative.  When Jimmy returns to school and faces the boys who have bullied him, it’s clear he has absorbed the lessons Grandpa was trying to teach him.  176 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  History buffs will enjoy this recounting of various battles between Native Americans and the “Long Knives” who gradually took over their lands in the nineteenth century.  The stories are told from the Lakota perspective, undoubtedly a bit different from what appears in a lot of history textbooks.  Ultimately, there’s no getting around the sadness of this part of American history, but the courage and strength of the Native Americans are what is emphasized.

Cons:  Jimmy seemed a little young for an 11-year-old, hanging on his grandfather’s every word, and frequently asking, “For reals?”.  It would have been interesting to get a more detailed look at his life on the reservation.

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