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Talking Leaves Hardcover – August 23, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Bruchac has crafted a tale of depth and universal humanity in this fictionalized account of Sequoyah, the creator of the Cherokee syllabary, and his son, Jesse. Struggling with gossip and whispers about his father, Jesse must decide whether to embrace the vision his father has for his people or to distance himself even further from his heritage. With an authentic voice, Bruchac weaves details of Cherokee customs, cultural stories, and language without any heavy-handedness. While explaining how the Cherokee language came to be written, this work also broaches the hard lessons of growing up: What does it mean to grow separately from your friends and family? Bruchac depicts complex characters and relationships. This is a strong middle grade novel that offers a needed perspective on Cherokee history and the life of a key historical figure. VERDICT An illuminating read for middle graders; purchase anywhere historical fiction is in demand.—Beth Dobson, Weatherly Heights Elementary School, Huntsville, AL
*"A tale of depth and universal humanity...This is a strong middle grade novel that offers a needed perspective on Cherokee history and the life of a key historical figure." — School Library Journal,starred review
"Themes of preserving identity and culture through both spoken and written language will appeal to readers of all ages.A vivid retelling of a pivotal time for the Cherokee nation." — Kirkus Reviews
"Although the particulars of the novel occur two hundred years ago, the universalityof fitting into a blended family and looking for love and acceptance from aonce-absent father feel strikingly contemporary." — The Horn Book
"This is as much a story about fathers and sons as it is about the legendary Sequoyah’s hugely significant work, and it offers multiple points of access for history buffs or fans of family dramas." — BCCB
Top customer reviews
Synchronicity — the theme of preserving culture was echoed in a Jane Yolen poem, and that of communicating problems in two books read around the same time.
The detail of pointing with lips or chin, not finger (impolite and perhaps unwise?) tied to . . .
The father in Diane Chamberlain’s PRETENDING TO DANCE cannot use hands, all gestures confined to face and head, and in both DANCE and Jacqueline Winspear’s IN THIS GRAVE HOUR, so much loss through lack of communication, so much gained by opening the doors between people, and family, and adoption.
I love that the author provides a cast of characters at the beginning of the novel. I found myself referring to this list often while reading. This story still lingers in my mind...several weeks later. I am in awe of the tenacity Sequoyah had in furthering his education about written languages and his need to share his knowledge to help others.