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Geronimo Hardcover – March 1, 2006
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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.
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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Thank you so much for another great book on Cochise & Geronimo. We are looking at their 2 National Parks where they lived in The Sulphur Springs Valley. The Chiricahua National Monument & The Cochise Stronghold National Forest, where Cochise is buried. Shipped fast too.
"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. Many children were sent to a school in Pennsylvania where many became sick with tuberculosis and died.
Woven into the stories of hardships and broken promises, are stories of the past both pleasant and bittersweet. Their days of peace and contentment, and their days of battle fighting the Mexicans and Americans.
Beautifully written, I hope this book finds its audience because it is a truly memorable book.
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.