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Worlds Apart Hardcover – April 1, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7–This is the story of a cross-cultural friendship, the struggles faced by the English trying to make a life in the South Carolina colony in 1670, and the effects of colonization on Native Americans. Christopher West, the narrator, is a likable, open-minded teen who forms a close bond with a Sewee Indian. They learn a great deal from one another, and Asha-po teaches Christopher how to survive in his new harsh surroundings. Their relationship brings to mind Elizabeth George Speare's The Sign of the Beaver (Houghton, 1983). As this friendship develops, Christopher begins to wrestle in his own mind with the perceived injustice done by his people toward the Sewees. Conflicts with his father begin, but Chrisptoher's upbringing prevents disobedience. When Asha-po and his people help the English fight off an attack by the Spanish, and then by the hostile Westo, they are offered meager gifts as a thank you, with promises of more to come. When another ship arrives from England without further reward and with more settlers, the teens' relationship is severely strained. This thoughtful novel offers extensive information as well as a gripping story of friendship and adventure. Karr paints a clear picture of the problems endured by the colonists and their single-minded determination to survive. In an afterword, she explains how she intermingled real historical figures with fictional ones and what triggered the story's surprising ending.–Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Kathleen Karr is the author of many highly acclaimed works of historical fiction, including Fortune's Fool and Exiled: Memoirs of a Camel. Her book The Great Turkey Walk was named a Best Book of the Year by both School Library Journal and Publishers Weekly. The Boxer was an ALA/YALSA Best Book for Young Adults and winner of the Golden Kite Award for Fiction, and The 7th Knot received an Agatha Award for Best Mystery. Other titles have been selected for ALA bibliographies and named ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Books. She is the parent of two grown children and lives in Washington, D.C.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5th - 8th
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Two Lions; First Edition edition (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761451951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761451952
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,958,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As an educator, I can appreciate all the historical information this novel manages to convey. There’s plenty about the lifestyle of both the Native Americans and the very first Carolina colonists, and there is even some discussion of events back in England, like the Great Fire of London and Cromwell. The setting is detailed and everything about the plot is specific to the time and place, making it very helpful for a co-curricular tie-in to history studies. Any child who makes it through this book will have a good sense of eastern woodland Native American spirituality, lifestyle, food sources, economy, and tribal rivalries, as well as hardships faced by colonists and reasons other than religion or gold that some colonists came.

That said, I suspect many kids will find this book a little slow. There are some tense or exciting moments, but most of the story explores how the colonists learned survival skills from the Sewee, and how Christopher grows in his father’s esteem. Christopher and Asha-po hunt, fish, dig for clams, dive for lobster, play games, learn each other’s language, go canoeing, etc. Much of the book revolves around food sources. There is no romance. It is a coming-of-age story, naturally, but the true transformation of Christopher from boy to man comes not with heroic deeds or manly reliability (nor even with killing a man) but with his betrayal of the values of the Sewee and his acceptance of the necessity of property, slavery, etc. Which brings me to my last point.

Even those who read well enough to get past the overall lack of excitement may dislike the book for its unremittingly bleak and depressing ending.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I consider the works of Scott O'Dell and Elizabeth George Speare to be the standard bearers when it comes to young adult historical fiction, but this novel ranks right up there with those books. Bringing to life a little foot note from the history of the Carolinas, Ms. Karr tells a solid story of friendship and the heartache that can accompany it.

Christopher West and his family are among the first settlers of the Carolinas. The Sewee tribe isn't sure what to think of the newcomers, but Christopher soon befriends a boy his age named Asha-po. Christopher learns knowledge from Asha-po, who in turn wonders at Christopher's people.

This is what I would consider to be a "boy book". The friendship is never cheesy, but understated and real. The wilderness survival is fascinating, as is the "adventure" quality of Spanish ships invading as well as a rival tribe. Karr writes with pure professionalism and sturdy, comfortable storytelling. The writing is simple enough to make this appropriate for many ages, yet is never flat. The hard emotion that comes in at the story's end is one that brought tears to my eyes and sealed this as a memorable story for me.

"Worlds Apart" is a book I pretty much devoured. Yes, it's a familiar story of two different peoples, but it's very well-done and it's the type of story that remains with us, as does this. An excellent book.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In 1666, the Great Fire of London destroyed many businesses in the city, and in the days before insurance those business owners were left with nothing more than ashes. The West family business, which had formerly been quite wealthy, was left to start again from nothing. At the same time, there were many pamphleteers (working for the ships' captains) drowning the city praising the glories and endless riches to be found in the New World. Mr. West, lacking any other options, sold every remaining possession his family had and traded the money for fare to the Carolinas. They were to gather as many sellable items as possible, and send them back on the return ship, to repay the backers who were funding the community until it got on its feet.

The story is told from the point of view of Christopher West, age 15, who probably did not actually exist at the time. (Only records of adult males were kept) Christopher befriends a young Indian named Ashah-po, who was near his age, but much better equipped to live in the Carolinas. Where Christopher knew about life in a city, Ashah-po knew all of the best ways a man could survive and provide for his family in this world which was so new to the English. Ashah-po was a member of the Seewee tribe, which was friendly to the newcomers, and without which, the English would not have survived, much less thrived in that area. The Seewee were looking for allies to help them against other, more brutal tribes, against whom they were at war.

Ashah-po taught Christopher many different ways of getting food (which meant meat or fish), and soon, Christopher was tasked with providing food for the whole English group. When Christopher and his friend got fresh fish for a couple of weeks, the English demanded variety.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
An entertaining book with a very appropriate title. While some may call the reading "slow" moving at times, I did not find that to be true at all. Subtle may be a better word. The story builds and fills in information as we learn the vast difference between the colonists and the Indians while at the same time we watch the two boys become friends through their similarities Much of the early part of the story revolves around the Indian teaching the colonist boy how to hunt and find food. There is humor, such as in the telling of the first sighting of an alligator or the first finding of a lobster, and useful conservational concepts such as hunting deer only at certain times of the years. All of this is written in a smooth-moving, entertaining to read manner.

However, there are a few not very believable episodes in the book, such as the result of the battle between the boys and two Spanish ships, which made the story seem a little silly at times, but overall, this is a decent book that is not only enjoyable to read, but also teaches a bit about history. I believe many children of the age this book was written for will find the book enjoyable to read.

However, this author, like many others goes out of the way to twist things to a certain degree in order to throw favor to the Indians over the colonists. For example, the Indain boy in the story is a Sewee Indian. The Sewee Indians had been attacked in the past by a larger, stronger Indian group, the Westos. Many of the Sewees had been murdered, their food was stolen, their village burned, and they were driven from their original land. The Westos would soon attack again. However, this time along with the Sewees, the colonists were there with more men and had guns and cannons and a fort to help defend against the attack.
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