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The Education of Little Tree Paperback – August 31, 2001

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Editorial Reviews


“Some of it is sad, some of it is hilarious, some of it is unbelievable, and all of it is charming.” --The Atlantic

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The Education of Little Tree tells of a boy orphaned very young, who is adopted by his Cherokee grandmother and half-Cherokee grandfather in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee during the Great Depression.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press; 25th anniversary edition (August 31, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826328091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826328090
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (462 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

169 of 178 people found the following review helpful By Matt Tietjen on January 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
Unlike the reader from LA, I fail to see why the University of Mexico Press should feel obligated to "alert" the reader of Forrest Carter's ugly past. I think that removing the "True Story" subtitle was all that had to be done. After finding out about Carter's hideous background, I read the book backwards and was relieved to find no hidden racist manifestos or prayers to Satan. When reading the book frontwards what I discovered was a potentially life-changing, hilarious, sad and ultimately uplifting tale that left me convinced of the universal beauty of the human spirit. As far as racial and cultural issues go, this book - if anything - made me even more understanding of different cultures and more sensitive to the background of Native Americans. In fact, I was so inspired after I turned over the last page, that I hastily filled up all of the blank pages at the end with my own reflections. I remember exclaiming to a friend who walked by that I had just finished one of the best books I had ever read. Of course I felt somewhat betrayed when I first learned the truth behind the book's author (this morning). I was also very disappointed - and still am - that such a wonderfully inspiring plot and cast of characters never actually graced the often-uninspiring "real world" in which we live. But then I looked back at the notes I had written upon completing the book. My first thought had been "As a society we need to understand and tolerate our differences." The irony here - that a former KKK leader had inspired these notes - did not escape me. Rather, I discovered that I was still learning from "Little Tree.Read more ›
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91 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Kristy Ann Emerson on May 20, 2006
Format: Library Binding
My grandmother gave me this book years ago as a birthday present, and my copy shows definite signs have having been read and reread many times over. I never grow tired of reading it, and it makes me feel good every time I open it up.

I'll accept what other reviewers of Cherokee descent have stated here that this is not an accurate depiction of their way of life. Here's the kicker though...I did not read this book to learn about the Cherokee, so the fact that it is not a true portrayal is not a concern to me. The family could just as easily have been German, Chinese, Russian, or Arab, it wouldn't have made any difference.

I'll also accept that Forrest (Asa) Carter was a racist, segregationist, KKK member. Mr. Carter is gone, and I don't know, nor will anyone else ever know, what his true motivation behind writing this story was.

What is more important is the overall message that this book portrays, and it is NOT one of racism. It is an endearing account of a little boy's relationship with his grandparents and their lives together in the mountains during the Depression. The wonderful thing is that it is told from the viewpoint of a 5 year old. He is too young to understand much about the adult world around him, and it is interesting to see his interpretations of the various things he experiences. He has a child's innocence, and is still able to view even the simplest things with wonder and can derive enjoyment from them. Five year olds today need an explosive video game to be so entertained.

The characters are well developed, a bit oversimplified, but intensly human. The writing is incredibly descriptive, and provides the reader with a vivid mental picture of what is happening.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Oll E. Oksen-free on August 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
Yes, yes, yes, we all know that the author was a former racist, that his romantic childhood in the Appies was cooked-up, and that it isn't exactly an accurate portrayal of the Cherokee culture. The real question is, what do I, as a reader get out of this book? What do I feel is the message? If Forrest Carter's main objective was to assimilate Indian stereotypes and white supremist ideals into our minds, then he has failed. Judging by the vast array of reviews I have read, many people get a message of love, tolerance, and respect for nature, irregardless of certain errors in the book. If Forrest Carter's objective was to teach these morals, then he certainly succeeded.

Even Dee Brown, author of Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee saw the importance of the story. "It's the book that counts, not the author...what does it matter who the author is? Most nonfiction books are part fiction."

Regardless of the authors motives this novel remains an enduring piece of beauty, on the highest echelon that books can reach.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Synthboy on March 17, 2000
Format: Library Binding
It's a strange, strange world. And while I'm stunned, and a little saddened, to learn of the background of the book and its author, my opinion of the book is changed, not one iota. It remains, to my mind, one of the most beautiful, beautifully written and meaningful stories I have ever read. So, how do I reconcile the apparent contradiction between author and story? I can't and don't really care. To me the book, and my experience of it, stands on its own, untainted by its background and associations. If I felt compelled to, I could rationalize the author's actions by depicting him as a man of a certain time and place as, say, George Washington or Thomas Jefferson, both of whom owned human beings as slaves, and yet did some good in their lives. As it is, I try to stand in judgement, especially of people I don't even know, as little as possible. I don't know if (Asa Earl) Forrest Carter was a good man or a bad man or how you even make a judgement like that from this place and time. But I do know that art, even while standing distinct and separate from the artist responsible for it, is almost always a reflection of some vital part of that artist. It may be only the tiniest facet of his self, it may not be the sum total, it may not even be understood by the artist himself, but it arises from within. So, I believe this: some facet of the author's spirit was inspired with a love and respect of truth and a deep understanding of human nature, and that that inspiration was responsible for a book of overwhelming beauty and humanity. I would still recommended it to my best friends as a rare, spirit-nourishing book. I view the contraversy surrounding its author as one of life's more bizarre lessons in self honesty, critical judgement and prejudice. To indict the book because of the sins of its author would be hypocritical, irrational and another form of prejudice - a case of judging something on other than its own merit. Ironic that. Read the book.
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