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Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); Second Printing edition (July 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374363870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374363871
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-7-Though the year 1812 rings ominously in the ears of any American history student, for Anikwa and James it is simply their 12th year, one that they expect will unfold like those that came before it. Anikwa, a member of the Miami tribe, and James, the son of traders living just outside Fort Wayne, have an easy friendship filled with trapping, fishing, and exploring the surrounding woods and river. Yet as outside events begin to converge, the first signs of betrayal and confusion enter their world as all is turned upside down. Frost, as readers have come to expect, fully embraces the stylistic possibilities of the verse form; James's poems run in long parallel lines visually representing the stripes of the American flag, while Anikwa's mirror Miami ribbon work. The two voices-and therefore forms-alternate easily throughout the story. The titular salt is sprinkled throughout the narrative, both as the subject of short poems that "give readers pause" between events (according to Frost's notes) and as a symbol of the fragile friendship between frontiersmen and Native Americans. James's father uncharacteristically withholds salt from Anikwa's people as tensions rise; yet pages later he watches as James takes great risk to get salt to Anikwa outside the stockade. The verse is succinct, yet beautiful, and the story is rich in historical and natural details. Fans of frontier and survival stories will find much to love within these pages.-Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Set during the War of 1812, near the present-day city of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Salt is the story of the friendship between Anikwa, a Miami Indian boy, and James, the son of a trader. As both British and American armies advance on the area, other Native American peoples arrive hoping to fight with the British against the Americans. The plan fails, and Anikwa’s peaceful people must flee. Will they have to abandon their traditional home, and will the friendship between the boys be sundered? Printz Honor Book author Frost (Keesha’s House, 2003) has written, with artful economy, another affecting novel in verse. Interspersed among selections narrated in the alternating voices of the two boys are poems about the salt that is necessary to the survival of both peoples. Frost explains that the form of Anikwa’s verses, rich in Miami words, evokes the diamond and triangle shapes of Miami ribbon work, while James’ more linear form suggests the stripes of the American flag. While acknowledging the uncertainties, misunderstandings, and occasional animosities of war, Frost also celebrates the relationship of both the Miami people and the Americans with the land and with each other. Explanatory notes and a glossary of Miami words are appended to this lovely evocation of a frontier America and the timelessness of friendship. Grades 5-8. --Michael Cart

More About the Author

Helen Frost was born in Brookings, South Dakota, and grew up in a family of ten children. She taught elementary school in Vermont, Scotland, and Alaska before becoming a full-time writer. Her novels, poetry, and picture books have won numerous honors and awards, including a Michael L. Printz honor for "Keesha's House." She lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where her yard is a "Monarch Waystation" with hundreds of milkweed plants and nectar flowers that she has planted especially for monarch butterflies.

Customer Reviews

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These poems are especially beautiful and worth savoring on their own.
Socratic Parent
Running throughout the story are reflections of the presence of salt in all life, literally and symbolically.
Elsa Marston
Poems of other characters meander back and forth across the page like the creek bed that houses the stones.
Patricia H. Powell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Socratic Parent on August 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Salt, Helen Frost's latest novel in verse set during the war of 1812 in what is now Fort Wayne, Indiana, focuses readers on the community ripped apart in the clash of the Native American and National American cultures. Frost tells the story in alternating single-page poems through the voice and friendship of two twelve-year-old boys: James (poems that reflect the stripes on the American flag) and Anikwa (poems shaped like the patterns of Miami ribbon work). The son of a trader, James is often torn as he admires the presence, awareness, and skills of his Miami friend Anikwa and rejects the thoughtless, destructive ignorance of his American friend Isaac.

Author's notes and a glossary help readers appreciate more fully the history, language and culture that converge and flow through Frost's poetry like the three rivers of Kekionga, homeland of the Native Miami where the American soldiers built Fort Wayne. (A replica of the old fort still stands today at the junction of the St. Mary's, St. Joseph, and Maumee Rivers, and is worth walking through if you're ever in northeast Indiana.)

Ten carefully crafted salt poems create a cadence similar to chapter breaks. These poems are especially beautiful and worth savoring on their own. The conflict that drives the novel remains a part of America's story today, and Salt subtly calls us to recognize and acknowledge it so that we can begin to seek genuine resolution. The final poem "Now the Sugar Maple" leaves us with a sweet taste of hope rather than salt in this open wound. Frost's poignant historical fiction is sure to leave salt streaks on the cheeks of many readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elsa Marston on August 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Some writers find the perfect genre for their craft--historical fiction, dystopia, funny animals--and stick to it. Others keep trying different forms, either as a search for the right fit or because of the challenge of something new. Helen Frost fits both descriptions. Her seven novels for young people are all told in poetic form, but the form is different for each book. Her settings display a curiosity about the emotional conflict to be found in a wide variety of times and places: "inner-city" search for Home, Scottish islands, contemporary summer camp, rural America during World War I, an Indian community in Alaska.

SALT takes us to a site now known as Fort Wayne in northern Indiana, at the time of that puzzling contest known as the War of 1812. Two communities and cultures with inevitably competing needs are living side by side, Miami Indians and white settlers accompanied by a military garrison. Two boys, one from each community, have become friends--only to find their friendship nearly shattered by the intrusion of what would later be called Manifest Destiny.

Running throughout the story are reflections of the presence of salt in all life, literally and symbolically. This is a book for poets, history buffs, observers of the human condition, and not least of all, for teachers who want their students to think, feel, and remember.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on July 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The setting for the story is in and around Fort Wayne in the Indiana Territory, just before the start of the Battle of 1812. Pioneers have settled into the area, but there is much talk of a great battle brewing, pitting the settlers against the British. Tenuous friendships have been forged between some Indian tribes and some settlers, but these ties are threatened with impending conflict.

James is a young boy whose parents run the trading post for the settlement fort. He lives in his house, which is inside the stockade but outside the walls of the actual fort, with his parents and his baby sister. He has made friends with a young Miami Native American boy named Anikwa.

Anikwa lives in Kekionga, which is near the fort, with his family in the Miami tribe. His parents were killed in a previous, skirmish and he is being raised by his family's relatives.

James and Anikwa spend many happy hours together, learning about each other's culture. They have learned a few words of each other's native tongue, but they communicate mostly through sign language.

Anikwa is friends with another Native American boy named Kwaahkwa. James is friend with another pioneer boy named Isaac. Isaac doesn't trust the Native Americans and Kwaahkwa doesn't trust the settlers. Both Aniwka and James try to ignore their friends.

But as tension rises between the two cultures, Anikwa and James start to distrust each other, too, due mainly to series of misunderstandings perpetuated by language barriers.

The trading post and James' house is set on fire. A large portion of the woods around the fort also burns, including Anikwa's village. James and his family must rebuild, as must Anikwa and his tribe. Confused by the events, Anikwa questions his grandma.
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Format: Hardcover
War looks imminent and tensions are mounting. In 1812, at what is now Fort Wayne, Indiana, James' family runs the trading post. Anikwa, a Miami Indian, helps reinforce his family's reed house. The twelve year old friends fight to survive a tough winter in "Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War" (Frances Foster 2013) by Helen Frost.
The Miami Indians weave mats of cattail reeds, which they stuff with moss for the walls of their homes. The poems in Anikwa's voice are shaped like diamonds and triangles to replicate the traditional Indian weaving work. Will his people fight alongside the Americans? Or with the British who claim they will allow the Indians to remain on their homeland?
James, the European American, speaks in long parallel lines like the stripes of the American flag. His family's values align with the Indians who are stewards of the earth. But there are those settlers who prefer to dominate the earth. Will James' family abandon the trading post--and their Miami friends--and seek refuge in the American military fort?
A third thread interspersed in this story of a challenged friendship is the story of salt beginning with its geological origin. Animals need salt to survive. Humans use it, also, to flavor and preserve food. In the saddest part of the story--during war--the poem depicts tears, "leaving salt streaks on our faces."
James and Anikwa understand only a few words of each other's language. Misunderstandings abound yet they forge a friendship. James has much to learn from Anikwa about woodland survival. He sees that in the Miami culture, as in all Native American cultures, generosity is valued. A strong character gives. This is what the Miami do. Give.
Frost clearly aligns with Native American culture, which is just one reason I love this book.
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