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Geronimo Hardcover – March 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-10-Starting in 1886 with Geronimo's final surrender, this novel is told from the perspective of his adopted grandson Little Foot, and follows the Chiricahua Apaches from their home in Arizona to Florida. At Fort Marion, the group dwindles, losing children to the Carlisle Indian School, where those who contract tuberculosis are sent home to die and spread the disease. Little Foot escapes this fate and eventually joins the U.S. Infantry. Bruchac's narrative meanders and shifts, but he sprinkles the trail with excitement and humor. Little Foot himself points out, I know that most White Eyes readers are less patient than Indians and prefer short stories that are easy to understand, and some young people will find this one difficult. But fans of history, or of themes of survival and freedom, will find it fascinating-and certainly different from other fare about the man. The fictional Little Foot affords Bruchac the perfect point of view to observe and interpret Geronimo's life, explaining where the history books got it wrong, and offering insights that won't be found there. There is not enough explanation about how Bruchac constructed his story from his sources (listed at the end). Nonetheless, as the author develops a compelling picture of a people driven by universal and recognizable motives, readers may find this story more persuasive than the nonfiction sources available in most libraries.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. While Bruchac's unnamed narrator is fictional, this novel of Geronimo, the great Chiricahua Apache, is grounded in facts. It begins in September 1886, when Geronimo and many of his band--including his adopted adolescent grandson, who recounts these events as an adult looking back--were taken from Arizona to Florida on a crowded train. At each stop, the terrified prisoners wonder if they will be killed or merely humiliated, as curious "White Eyes" stop to gawk and to buy artifacts from the Indian passengers. Geronimo's patience and canny wisdom come through, even when his group ends up in a humid, insect-infested place and must struggle to find employment. For his part, the narrator keeps himself from being sent to the infamous Carlisle Indian School, where young Indians were stripped of their culture and often contracted tuberculosis. The pace is stately and the storytelling occasionally dense, but many readers will be fascinated by this close-up view of a valiant leader and the hardships endured by his people. Excerpts from primary source documents open each chapter and anchor the fiction in history. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 900L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (March 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439353602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439353601
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,071,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joseph Bruchac is a highly acclaimed Abenaki children's book author, poet, novelist and storyteller, as well as a scholar of Native American culture. Coauthor with Michael Caduto of the bestselling Keepers of the Earth series, Bruchac's poems, articles and stories have appeared in over 500 publications, from Akwesasne Notes and American Poetry Review to National Geographic and Parabola. He has authored more than 50 books for adults and children. For more information about Joseph, please visit his website www.josephbruchac.com.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
By and large, you shouldn't start a review of a book by saying that you, the reviewer, are an idiot. Just the same, I am an idiot. Why am I an idiot? Because I'm fairly certain that I've been walking around as a full-fledged children's librarian, all my credentials in place, while thinking that Joseph Bruchac was Michael Dorris. This is a pretty good litmus test of idiocy. Just now, JUST now, I went to Amazon.com to confirm that Bruchac had written, "Sees Behind Trees". Imagine my shock when I discovered that for years now I've been giving credit to the wrong danged guy. Now I did read and enjoy Bruchac's, "A Boy Called Slow" years and years ago, but that does little to offset my embarrassment. In any case, I've read a Bruchac book now and I've come away with it with mixed feelings. Telling the tale of the great Geronimo's life through the eyes of a fictional grandson, Bruchac has meticulously researched and lovingly drawn a portrait of this impressive figure. His book is full of factual information and heartbreaking detail and life. Unfortunately, the first half makes for a very dry read. If kids can get through it and proceed on to the second, they'll find themselves more than adequately rewarded by the tale's end. A great but mixed read.

Little Foot was adopted as a kind of grandson to the great warrior Geronimo when his parents were killed in a Mexican raid many years ago. Over time he has stood by his Apache people, finally standing down to the American army when Geronimo surrenders with the feeling that they should fight no more. En masse the Apaches are taken from their homes in Arizona and sent by train to Florida as prisoners of war. Through Little Foot's eyes we see the history and betrayal of the Apache people.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By blbooks on July 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Geronimo was a legendary figure in American culture, and during the last half of his lifetime, a tourist attraction wherever he went. And while Joseph Bruchac's novel GERONIMO describes this vividly, he also paints a portrait of a real man. Told through the eyes of "Little Foot" or "Willie" this fictional grandchild of Geronimo is responsible for passing on his legacy through the stories he shares.

"Remember That is what I now do. I tell the story as best I can. With each line of my tale I will place a kernel of corn on the ground. Then, when I am done, that corn will be there for you to pick up. Eat it and this story may stay with you as it has stayed with me. Do not fall asleep, or the story may be broken, as were our lives. Listen" (5).

While it doesn't follow strictly chronological guidelines, the main story takes place between 1883 and 1908. The heart of the story is the imprisonment of the Apache Indians--yes, I know there is a more descriptive, more accurate name, and their exile from their land in Arizona. They were deported by train, under guard, to camps and forts in Alabamba and Florida. The train carrying Geronimo became a tourist attraction at every stop along the way, and a money-making venture.

"'They are waiting for a memory,' Wratten said to me as we passed slowly by yet another great crowd of waving, shouting people. 'They want to be able to tell their children they saw Geronimo.'" (78)

The memories they make for themselves in their new homes were anything but pleasant. Full of hard work, sadness, depression, and disease--their camps were prone to malaria--they were often separated from their families...wives from husbands, and children from parents.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Lyman on July 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
What a great historical fiction story of Geronimo, told through the eyes of fictional grandson. The story focuses mainly on the imprisonment of the Apache Indians who were taken from their homes in the Southwestern US to live in the Southeastern half of our country.

Geronimo was a powerful leader but along with other leaders he was separated from his family, including his grandson, and sent to live in a different relocation camp from them.

Author, Bruchac,is a great storyteller. He was able to weave humor in and out of the story. Even though there were many parts that may appear cumbersome to read and handle for an upper elementary or middle school student, Bruchac, had the anecdotes perfectly placed to keep a reader's interest.

When I book talk this book with my students, there are several occasions where I'm be able to read excerpts that will pique their interest enough to maybe check the book out on their own.

Bruchac gives a reader a different perspective of the Apache Indian. One who is enterprising, innovative and true to one's family. The book allows the reader to form a much different opinion of a tribe that through out history has been portrayed as a very violent tribe.
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