From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8–Berne highlights Sacagawea's importance to the Lewis and Clark expedition, as well as her unfortunate lapse into obscurity and the mystery of what happened to her in later life. Chief Joseph was the Nez Perce's main negotiator with the U. S. Army, and he made a name for himself through his strong belief in resolving conflict through peaceful means. Although he was promised that the Nez Perce would return to their ancestral lands, they ended up farther east in Montana. Joseph spent the rest of his life advocating for peaceful relations between his people and whites. The story of Pocahontas saving John Smith's life may be a romanticized version of an elaborate Powhatan ritual, but the friendship between the two was real. Jones begins by placing the settlement at Jamestown in the context of both European exploration and Powhatan lifeways. Pocahontas became a friend to the settlers, eventually married an Englishman, and moved to London. No actual fictionalizing takes place, but the author does suggest what Pocahontas may have thought of the strangeness of her new home. This is a welcome biography for readers wanting more information than that found in Kathleen Krull's Pocahontas (Walker, 2007). In all three books, illustrations appear on almost every page, including period black-and-white photographs (where available), present-day photographs of important places, and well-chosen paintings and drawings. The authors succeed in painting sympathetic yet realistic portraits of their subjects and the cultures in which they lived, especially in the case of Chief Joseph, whose pain at his people's losses is clearly evident.–Rebecca Donnelly, Loma Colorado Public Library, Rio Rancho, NMα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Packed with fast action and detailed analysis, these new titles in the Sterling Biographies series blend the stories of Native American leaders with the history of their peoples, distinguishing myth and reality by documenting what really happened and focusing on ordinary people as well as chiefs and warriors. Contrary to myth, Sacagawea explains that the Shoshone teen was not a princess, her relationship with Clark was platonic, and she was a peace symbol rather than a guide until they finally reached the Shoshone tribe. The series’ spacious design is highly scannable, with color background screens, photos, maps, and historic prints throughout; also included are a detailed time line, glossary, bibliography, and fully documented notes. Grades 7-12. --Hazel Rochman