Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow: The Diary of Sarah Nita, a Navajo Girl, New Mexico, 1864 (Dear America) Hardcover – September 1, 1999
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8-Sarah Nita, 13, tells the story of the Navajo's forced 400-mile Long Walk from their ancestral homeland through winter snow to Fort Sumner. The confusion, fear, and suffering of The People are drawn with clarity and immediacy. A factual afterword gives a larger picture of the times with captioned period photographs of the Navajo. The story is rich with details of Native life gracefully woven into the telling of events. Characterizations are complete, even for minor participants. The publication information is at the rear of the book, as it is for all titles in this series, which has given rise to a general criticism that the stories are easily mistaken for actual period diaries. The CIP classification is 813.54; granted, that is American fiction, but placing this book in the nonfiction section of the library only adds to the confusion. The author's comments allow readers to believe that Sarah Nita was a real girl ("born in 1851"). All the same, it is a compelling story, and its power will attract readers.
Cris Riedel, Ellis B. Hyde Elementary School, Dansville, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This heartbreaking addition to the Dear America series tells the story of the massive Navajo imprisonment by the United States government at Fort Sumner.
Sarah Nita is tending her family's herd one day, with her sister and their pet hound, when they see smoke rising from the sky and the thundering of horses hooves and, suddenly, their family is taken from them in an instance. Their mother and father have been kidnapped by United States soldiers and sent to Fort Sumner where they will work as servants and slaves in a massive prison designed to hold all the Navajo people. Sarah and her sister must pick their way over the land, hoping to reunite themselves with their extended family and, then, with their mother and father. As the families are reunited and then sent trudging the long walk to Fort Sumner, and as soldiers murder their people for being too old, too slow, or too pregnant to keep up, Sarah overcomes the fear and sorrow in her heart to tell stories in the evenings, stories to chase away their sorrow.
Ann Turner has done a wonderful job of presenting the horror and pain encountered on these forced marches to prison. While she provides a "nice soldier" as a counterpoint to his companions, it is brutally clear that the majority of the soldiers treat the American Indians most shamefully, and the narrator and her sister are warned carefully to never wander alone, for the soldiers "are cruel to our women". The plight of the men is also poignant, as they labor like slaves in the fields and feel helpless and heartbroken that they cannot protect their families from the horrors visited upon them. The children struggle to be brave and strong, and Sarah in particular is able to heal her father's heartbreak with cleverness, carefully guarded food and medicines, and love.
For parents, this book bares a terrible truth about our nation's history and shines the light on our crimes so that we may not repeat these crimes again in the future. This is not, however, light reading. Although Sarah and her extended family remain safe through her determination and cleverness, many other Navajo die badly, with the elderly falling prey to the cold weather, and a heavily pregnant woman murdered by soldiers because she went into labor. Rape is hinted at, when the young girls are warned to not bathe naked because the soldiers are cruel to the women. Though this is an important book for both children and adults to read, sensitive children may find a good deal of the subject matter upsetting.
~ Ana Mardoll
The book is about Sarah Nita (I have to wonder how a girl who speaks only Navajo got an English name) is living with her family, peacefully, when one day her family is carried off by United States soldiers. Sarah Nita and her sister travel for many days to reach some of their father's relatives in a distant area. But after the girls reach the relatives, they too are taken by the American troops. The people are forced to walk for days on little food and water. They reach a camp and are then forced to walk some more.
Okay now you know what the story is about. Let me tell you why I gave this book only one star.
First of all it is a well known fact that if a pregnant woman was going into labor, on this death walk, would be shot because her giving birth would slow everyone down. In the book this only happens once or twice. In actuality it happened on a daily basis.
One statement in the book says that the soldiers were sometimes cruel to the women. Which is true, but that statement makes no sense to a ten-year-old child reading it. Take it from me; I read this at a fairly young age (about ten or eleven) and I did not understand that statement until about a year ago (I am a teenager now).
One more thing. This book glorifies the white soldiers! There are several instances in the book that refer to nice soldiers. Which of course might have happened but if it did there is no recorded evidence of it. As a Native American I personally find that insulting.
I would not reccomend this book to anyone.
P.S. In writng this reveiw I mean no disrespect towards the people, and their descendants, who had to suffer through such a horrible atrocity. I am only trying to state my opinion.
I liked the book because it showed what really happened to the Navajos and so many Native Americans like them. I also liked Sarah Nita's stories and her courage too. by: Logan Vincent